Efritin shuts Nigeria office, blames bad economy
Efritin (pronounced ‘Everything’) has stopped further investments in Nigeria and has wound down operations, just 16 months after its official launch.
Investigation showed that high cost of data and operational demands forced the e-classified advert player to close shop.
The company’s staff are already vacating the head office located in Ikeja while office properties are being auctioned.In a Skype call with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Nils Hammar, chief executive officer, Saltside Technologies and owners of Efritin, confirmed the decision to close down its Nigerian office, blaming harsh economic conditions in the country as the primary factor.
Hammar said that high cost of data is slowing down investments, disclosing their fears that current economic indices (recession) in the country may remain the same up to last quarter of 2017.
Recently, the telecommunications service providers in Nigeria indicated plans to increase data subscription by almost 100 per cent, attributing same to a supposed directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The operators have since been carpeted by the Senate, which stopped the plan of increasing a data plan of N1,000 for 1.5 gigabytes to cost N3,000 at N1,000 per 500 megabytes.
“We are reducing our investment in Nigeria. That effectively means we are reducing our staff; everybody has to go. But in terms of using the site, it will continue as before. By investment we mean the investment we made from the launch, it will be reduced,” Hammar said.
“Like I said earlier, data cost is too high and limits the growth potential of the market. if you look at the size of Nigeria and the online activities, there is a big discrepancies. Before e-commerce and classified ad sites will start recouping return in investments (RoI) there has to be drastic reduction in cost of data,” the Saltside Technologies boss said.
Efritin is alleged to be involved in 10 court cases in Nigeria that would cost the company up to N20million in fees among other things, according to a report by TechMoron, causing the central CEO to finally make the decision to close the company.
However, Hammar agreed there are court cases, but denied that the legal tussles were part of the decisions to step out of Nigeria.He said, “I can’t comment on specific legal cases involving Efritin operations in Nigeria, especially, on whether there are true or not. But I can tell you that has nothing to do with our decision to leave Nigeria. It has zero impact on the decision. This decision is something we deliberated on for a very long time; tried different approaches to see if we can find a better path forward considering the economic challenges- the data cost”.