South African ‘Exit’: What Happens if MTN, DSTV, Shoprite Leave the Nigerian Market?

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A recent news report by Nairametrics claims that a meeting by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has resolved that MTN NigeriaMultiChoice (owners of DSTv, GoTV), and other South African companies in Nigeria quit operation in the country within 7 days.

This resolution is said to be in reaction to the Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. In response, the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) headed by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has come out to debunk this, saying it was never involved in such a decision.

However, given the fact that these sentiments are shared by people across the country, it might be necessary to imagine a situation where such an order is carried out. What would this mean for Nigerians and the companies in question?

Well, below are some the possible effects of such a ban.

The Services Offered

An evacuation of such magnitude will mean that the services these companies offer will be cut off and most importantly, deeply missed.

MTN Nigeria for example is the market leader in the telecoms industry with over N65 million users, this goes to show how much its service is widely used. That’s a lot of people to cut off. An evacuation will most definitely leave its users distraught.

Also, despite its incessant price increase, Multichoice’s DSTV and GoTV still remains the go-to Pay TV for most Nigerians. With most of the smaller players TStv, ACtv, and KWESE down and out, a stop to DSTV’s operations in Nigeria will mean that Nigerians will be left with little or no options as regards Satellite TV. And of course the other available options like Startimes (a Chinese multinational media company), wont offer as much services as most Nigerians are used to.

Considering the high cost of data and epileptic connection still bedeviling the country, streaming is not much of an option for most.

Not to mention the fact that some unique stations like, Supersports, African Magic and several others, are only available on DSTV. They will be greatly missed.

Thousands Will Loose Their Jobs

It’s no news that most of these guys are the biggest companies in their various fields. And of course that means they have thousands of staff on their payroll and if you factor in the local agents, engineers, and retailers, this number could reach up to a million or even more.

Now picture Nigeria with over 20 million unemployed, now having another million added to it. That’s a massive number to throw back into the labour market where jobs are not readily available. Not forgetting the families they feed and the chain reaction such massive loss of income will cause to the society.

It is safe to say Nigeria is not ready for this.

The Economy

1st quarter reports by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that the telecom industry contributes 10.11% of Nigeria’s GDP. Now imagine where the country’s major player, which is most likely the biggest contributor leaves, a major slash in the contribution I guess.

This is not considering the huge revenue from tax being remitted by DSTV and the other South African companies as well as users’ Value Added Tax (VAT) that will be lost. The ripple effects a decision like that will have on the business and strategic ties between both countries are unquantifiable.

In Conclusion

While this post is not in anyway to justify the killings in South Africa, I can say that should a massive shutdown like this take place, it will come at a price for both Nigeria and Nigerians.

The companies in check which will also have to bear a loss although Nigeria is not their main source of revenue – unlike popular believe.

However, both countries will need to put in place diplomatic measures and actions to reassure citizens that such a rash decision is shut down before it spreads.


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