MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has made a case for intensive investment in indigenous manpower development, calling on private sector players to invest in improved local content.
Wale Goodluck, MTN’s corporate service executive, made the call at the MTN Leadership Forum, a gathering of top business and industry leaders that met recently in Abuja where globally-renowned business advisor, Ram Charan, shared key insights to building a strong economy.
Notable attendees at the event included Arunma Oteh, director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); chief economic adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Nwanze Okidegbe, among others.
Goodluck, noting that MTN has invested massively in training Nigerian engineers and attracting Diaspora talents, noted that it made good business sense to train local talent and that this move was also critical to strengthening local content and economy.
MTN, which entered the Nigerian telecommunications market in 2001, claims to have so far whittled down its former 300 strong expatriate work force to just 15, replacing them with Nigerian workers. This move has saved the company a lot of money, eliminating the heavy burden of catering to a large expatriate team.
Goodluck noted that MTN hopes by organising this forum, local businesses would be “provoked” to think about solutions and not just the challenges in the Nigerian business environment.
“The idea was to provoke communications,” he urged, “take the conversation out of here so Nigeria can be the dream country we know it can be.”
Meanwhile, Charan advised the Nigerian power sector to pursue a three pronged approach to build the economy, by identifying specific areas in which to bring in a foreign partner to work with, defining the hurdle and developing resilience.
Nwanze Okidegbe, chief economic adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, noted that the current administration was engaging with the private sector like never before.
“We are interested in promoting the private sector; anyone who is interested in investing in Nigeria would meet open doors. We want your investment, we are willing to work with you,” Okidegbe said.