AN EVALUATION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ON COMMUNITIES EMPOWERMENT A STUDY OF SELECTED FIRMS IN THE NIGERIAN MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRY, CALABAR

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Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated corporate social responsibility on communities empowerment using MTN, Etisalat and Globacom of the Nigerian mobile telecommunications industry as study area. Its theoretical framework was formed from a review of relevant literature. A sample size of 103 was obtained using the convenience sampling method. 73 out of the 103 questionnaire distributed were retrieved and analyzed using the Pearson Product Moment Coefficient of correlation. The findings revealed that the various health, educational and economic empowerment csr programmes of firms in the Nigerian mobile telecommunications industry have transformed the lives of members of host communities. It also showed that there is a significant relationship between csr and communities empowerment. The study recommended that organizations should see csr as a viable tool that can be used in building corporate sustainable relationship with host communities and therefore set up critical control measures that will enable them continually monitor and evaluate their impact of their various csr programmes have on members of host communities which will culminate in the overall transformation of their business practices and operations as well as the society in which they operate.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

            Since the introduction of mobile telecommunication into Nigeria which arose from privatization of the economy in 2001, the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) industry has been responsible for the employment of millions of Nigerian citizens. This sector has immensely enhanced the growth of the nation’s economy. As one of the most functional sectors in the Nigerian economy, corporate social responsibility (csr) is expected from this industry. (Osemene, 2012:149)

            Every business whether service rendering or goods producing is established with a goal or purpose which is satisfying the needs of members of the society. This goal is achieved by harnessing both human and non-human resources in a very carefully selected way. Inputs are usually obtained from the environment of the business which is then been processed using organizational resources in order to turn them into outputs that are needed by members of the society.

            From the foregoing, it can be said that there is an inextricable link between business and the society the two are interdependent, decisions that affects one also affects the order. Communities own the resources, partnership is the key to harnessing these resources and the outcome of such partnership will bring about community change, empowerment and sustainable development.

            Business men and women, in their quest to achieving optimum profit, which is their economic role,  have to exercise care and social concern in formulating policies for conducting their various business operations in order to maintain a sustainable relationship between them and the society. It against this backdrop that the concept of corporate social responsibility had arisen and there are lots of views held about it.

            In this research project, the researcher evaluated how the csr projects of some selected firms in the Nigerian mobile telecommunication industry in Calabar, South-South Nigeria have been instrumental in empowering their host communities in which they operate.

1.2       Statement of the problem

            Quite a number of firms operating in Nigeria are more concerned on how they can make more and more profit even if this will be achieved at the detriment of all stakeholders. Environmental protection, community development and needs of host communities are sometimes side-tracked or even neglected. Given the impact of the advent of GSM into the Nigerian market, the wide acceptability of this mode of communication, the role it plays in the Nigerian economy, csr ought to be taken seriously by the mobile telephony service providers. Many  firms and stakeholders view social responsibility differently. To some it should be done based on one’s volition, while to others it is an obligation, to yet another it is a reaction or responsiveness. All these differing views put together constitute therefore a barrier in the comprehension of csr and the contributions its programmes have made in empowering host communities. While some stakeholders are of the opinion that csr  programmes of firms in the Nigerian mobile telecom industry have gone along way to fostering the betterment of lives of host communities, others opine that firms in this industry have not lived up to expectation in carrying out various CSR projects that will empower host communities. This dilemma, the researcher investigated and critically evaluated in order to ascertain to what extent csr programmes or projects of this industry have empowered communities in Nigeria.

  1. Objectives of the study

This study sought to achieve the following objectives:

  • To examine how the health csr projects of selected mobile telecom firms have impacted members of host communities
  • To critically evaluate how the economic empowerment csr programmes of selected mobile telecom firms have empowered members of host communities
  • To determine to what extent have the educational csr programmes of selected mobile telecom firms have transformed the lives of members of host communities
  • To determine the level of involvement of selected firms in the mobile telecom industry on issues bordering on national development

1.4       Research questions

            The researcher found answers to the following questions in the cause of this           research;

  • How have the health csr projects of selected mobile telecom firms impacted members of host communities?
  • To what extent have the economic empowerment csr programmes of selected mobile firms empowered members of host communities?
  • Have the educational csr programmes of selected mobile telecom firms transformed the lives of members of host communities?
  • Are selected firms in the Nigerian mobile telecom industry involved in issues of national development?

1.5       Research hypothesis

            The researcher formulated the following null hypotheses, Viz:

H0:  Health csr projects of selected mobile telecom firms have not impacted members of host communities

H02The economic empowerment csr programmes of selected firms have not empowered members of host communities

H03:   The lives of members of host communities have not been transformed by the educational csr programmes of selected mobile telecom firms

1.6       Scope and limitation of study

            The study encompassed the impact of csr of business on communities empowerment. A study of selected firms in the Nigerian mobile telecom industry was used as the study area. The selected firms included: MTN Nigeria, Globacom Limited and Etisalat Nigeria.

            The researcher had the following challenges:

  • Time constraint to effectively carryout this study. The period allowed for this study was not sufficient nonetheless the researcher maximized the stipulated time and was able to conclude the research before the deadline.
  • Non-access to some vital document containing company’s or firm details on csr programmes. The researcher could not obtain documents from the firms that were studied. He relied on what was seen online and also the work of other researchers.
  • Inadequate financial resources. The researcher was posed with the challenge of fund for financing this work. He overcome this by studying a selected firms in the mobile telecom industry and also raised some fund from friends and family members.
  • Attitude of respondents. This could be seen in the unwillingness of some persons to fill the questionnaire the researcher prepared and distributed. Also some persons interviewed were not opening up. This, the researcher was able to handle by closely following up respondents and also booking of special appointment a couple of times with some persons.
  • Natural phenomenon. This also constituted a challenge in the cause of this work as the period in which the researcher was carried out was characterized by frequent and heavy rainfall. The researcher was able to scale through this challenge by maximizing the intermittent dry periods or days when carrying out this work.

1.7       Significance of study

            This study’s relevance included:

  • The researcher been empowered or equipped with sound knowledge of how csr projects of firms in the Nigerian mobile telecom industry have empowered host communities.
  • The study has also provided relevant information for other researchers who are interested in the field of csr of this industry.
  • Also, mobile telecom firms in the industry in Nigeria would be able to comprehend the impact their csr projects have on host communities therefore reinforcing or correcting their attitudes towards csr seeing that it goes along way to affect their corporate image or reputation

1.8       Historical background

1.8.1 The Nigeria telecommunication industry

            ‘The process of deregulating the telecommunication industry in Nigeria began in 1992 with the establishment of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) by decree 75 of 1992. The objectives of the regulator have been to create an environment which would facilitate the supply of telecom services and facilities, allowing private entrepreneurs to enter the market while promoting fair competition and enhancing the level of service for all concerned”. (en.wikipedia.com).

            Without doubt, August 2001 represents a milestone in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. Before this date, which marks the commencement of GSM mobile telephone services, and the pursuant liberalization of the industry, the state-owned Nigeria telecommunication limited (NITEL) was a monopoly that did everything possible to stifle growth and development in the sector. In forty (40) years of operation, the utility was only able to account for approximately 450,000 telephone lines, nearly all of them fixed landlines, serving a population that is the largest in Africa, estimated at 120million people as at then. It was one of the lowest connectivity rates in the world. The potentials of the market had long been recognized by investors as huge and only begging to be tapped despite glaring deficiencies in backbone infrastructure. (Andrey, 2011).

            Nigeria’s digital mobile network has grown significantly since the three companies, awarded the GSM license in January 2001, began operating in August. According to the NCC, the GSM network achieved 350,000 connections within six months of their launch. The new operators have also reduced their start-up prices, though customer still complained that their tariff is too high. Using GSM mobile to connect with fixed lines is still hampered by the limited numbers of interconnectivity provided by Nigerian telecommunications, which is also a GSM operator but lags behind the private firm in expanding its mobile services. In January 2002, the government began the long awaited process of licensing a second network operator (SNO), publishing an information memorandum and application instructions for prospective investors. The guidelines from the NCC said that the SNO would be authorized to provide a range of telecom services at the national level and also receive a digital mobile license. It laid out a four stage licensing process, which begins with submission including a deposit of US $20 million and non-refundable fee of US $5000. Applicants must be limited liability companies incorporated in Nigeria.

            According to the guideline, the license will be awarded to the highest bidder, and the minimum acceptable bid will be at a reserve price of US$285million. The SNO license will last for 20 years, renewable for a further 15 years upon payment of a new fee. The mobile license will be valid for 15 years. The SNO will be expected to install atlest 150,000 fixed lines in its first year of operation, increasing coverage to 550,000 within 36 months and 1.2 million with 60 months of receiving the license. The mobile license has target of 100,000 connected subscribers within 12 months of launch, 750,000 in 36 months and 1.5million in 60 months. The NCC says that there is pent up demand for telecoms services in Nigeria and forecasts the voice line demand in the country will grow from 4.03million in 2001 to 6.04 in 2003 and 10.25million in 2009”. (en.wikipedia.com).

            The selected firms in the Nigerian mobile telecom industry for this study were; MTN Nigeria, Globacom Limited and Etisalat Nigeria.

1.8.2 MTN Nigeria

            Mobile telephone network (MTN) Nigeria is part of the MTN group, Africa’s leading cellular telecom company. On May 16, 2001 MTN become the first GSM network to make a call following the globally lauded Nigeria GSM auction conducted by the NCC earlier in the year. Thereafter the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. MTN paid US$285m for one four GSM licenses in Nigeria in January 2001. To date, in excess of US$1.8billion has been invested building mobile telecom infrastructure in Nigeria. Since launch in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across Nigeria. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spamming the 36 states of Nigeria and the F.C.T Abuja.

            President Olusegun Obasajo, former president of Nigeria, commissioned the company’s digital microwave transmission backbone, the 3,400 kilometre Yello Bahn which is reputed to be the most extensive digital microwave transmission infrastructure in all of Africa. This has boasted the quality of MTN network. The company subsists on the core brand values of can do. It prides itself in its ability to make the impossible possible, connecting people with friends, families and opportunities.

            In its resolve to enhance quality customer services, MTN Nigeria has also introduced a self-help-toll-free ‘181’ customer care line through which subscribers can resolve frequently asked questions free of charge. MTN’s overriding  mission is to be a catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth and development, helping to unleash Nigeria’s strong development potential not only through the provision of world class communications but also through innovative and sustainable csr initiatives.

            MTN also offers internet services, international roaming, blackberry and galaxy services, new mobile portability which allows one to switch from current mobile network operator to another. MTN also delivers windows 8 and windows phone 8 devices in key African markets. Her csr platform is MTN foundation which covers economic empowerment, educational and health (en.wikipedia.org/wiki /telecommunications_in_Nigeria).

1.8.3 Globacom Limited

            This company also known as ‘Glo’ is a Nigerian multinational telecom company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. Glo is a privately owned telecoms carrier that started operations on 29 August 2003. It currently operates in four countries in West Africa, namely Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire. As at June, 2009, the company had employed more than 2,500 people worldwide. Glo has an estimate of 25million subscribers (June 2009) and it is a 100 percent Nigerian owned company. It is privately owned by the Mike Adenuga Group which consist of Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB) PLC now Sterling bank, Conoil, a petroleum marketing company, and Conoil producing, a crude exploration company. Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr is the chairman. Glo mobile introduced lower tariffs pay per second billing and alongside the value added services. The company has also introduced Glo fleet manager, which is the most comprehensive vehicle tracking solution offered, Glo mobile internet service and Blackberry. Glo 1 submarine cable is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria, and Glo is the first Individual African Company to embark on such a project. The vision of Globacom is to aspire to build Africa’s biggest and best telecom network.

            Glo also offers “G-Bam-Hi-5ive” which enable users to browse with free 5mega byte (MB) everyday, Glo-radio, international roaming options, mobile money and international top-up. Others include audio conferencing, voice alert Glo soccer and mobile school options among a myriad of other value added services. The mobile school is an interactive educational SMS platform that inspires students to learn and conduct their own learning outside the framework of traditional classes. The key contribution of mobile school is that it allows the students interest, needs, strengths and weaknesses to drive the learning process. This is an SMS base service which is hosted on a dedicated short code “33188” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/telecommunications_in­_ Nigeria).

1.8.4 Etisalat Nigeria

            Emerging Market Telecommunication Service (EMTS) trading as Etisalat, it a Nigeria company duly incorporated under the laws of Nigeria in partnership with Mubadala Development Company and Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Incorporated in Nigeria as a private company, it acquired the unified access license from the federal government in January 2007. The license includes a mobile license and spectrum  in the  GSM 1500 and 900 MHZ bands. Etisalat acquired a 40% stake in EMTS and is now the operator of the unified access license.

            In Nigeria, Etisalat made the first official call on it network on 13th March, 2008 in the presence of official from the NCC and the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria. In September of same year, it kicked off commercial operations with the innovative 0809 choose campaign which enabled Nigerians choose numbers special to them as their mobile numbers. Full commercial operations began in October 2008.  

         Etisalat Nigeria has experienced unprecedented growth in the Nigeria mobile telecoms industry with 15million subscribers and consistently demonstrates its core values of-teamwork, integrity, passion for excellence, empowering our people and growing our people to Nigerians as it offers them world class telecom services. Etisalat believes that sustainable investment is the bedrock of stellar growth and economic stability.

            Barely six months of operations in Nigeria, the NCC pronounced Etisalat, Nigeria’s best network based on quality of service indices. In November 2012, Etisalat again received another award. Her vision is to be a world where people’ reach is not limited by matter or distance, a world where people will effortlessly stay in touch with family and friends, a world where business of all sizes can reach new markets without the limitations of distance and travel.

            Etisalat also offers users’ internet service, Blackberry and galaxy options. It also enables E-top up, international roaming options, Geek force among other value added services. Etisalat csr projects ranges from carrier counseling for student to Etisalat centre for csr. Others include: Etisalat scholarship awards, fight malaria initiative, eco-friendly products among others. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ telecommunications _in_Nigeria).

1.9       Definition of terms

            With the intent of aiding the readers’ understanding, the researcher has defined the following terms used in this work operationally as follows:

Corporate social responsibility-this means that businesses do not solely exist for profit optimization but also to give back to the society in which they operate be sustainable in their practices.

Business-this is an activity aimed at making available goods and services to those who need them at a profit through numerous exchange processes.

Stakeholders-these are those that are affected by a business outfit’s decision. They include employees, customers, creditors, shareholders, community and government.

Host community-this is the locality in which a business functions or carries out her various operations.

Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is a technological framework that enable people the world over the interact using wireless mobile electronic devices.

Privatization-this is the process of transfer of ownership of firms or industries from government (publicly owned) to individuals or group of individuals (privately owned).

Community empowerment-this is the process of improving the quality of life of a people or members of a community.

Firm-this is a business outfit that specializes in the production of a given product (goods/services)

Industry-this is the amalgamation of firms that are into similar production line.

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