9Mobile Looses As MTN Gained Over 2 Million New Internet Users In May -NCC

Nigeria has gained 3.12 million Internet users in May 2019, the latest monthly Internet subscribers data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission has shown.

However, this is lower than the number of new Internet users recorded by mobile network operators in April in which operators gained 3.6 million new users.

The statistics showed that overall Internet users rose to 122,624,417 in May from the 119,506,430 recorded in April, showing a 2.6 per cent growth in subscribers.

According to the data, Airtel, MTN and Globacom gained more Internet subscribers during the month under review, while 9mobile was the big loser and a major aspect that might have contributed their loss is the much complained about 9mobile data plan for internet users. Also, new Internet users were added on the 800 MHz spectrum owned by MTN.

The breakdown of the statistics revealed that MTN gained the most with 2,406,627 new Internet users, increasing its subscription in May to 52,433,020 from 50,026,393 recorded in April.

The data indicated that Airtel came second with 595,093 new Internet users in May, increasing its subscription to 31,932,750 in May as against 31,337,657 in April.

Also, Globacom gained 198,142 new Internet users in the month under review, increasing its subscription to 28,825,533 in May as against 28,627,391 recorded in April.

The NCC data further showed that 9mobile lost 90,866 Internet users in May and was left with 9,350,477 users in May as against 9,441,343 recorded in April.

The data revealed that 800Hz spectrum MTN got from Visafone recorded 82,637 Internet users in May as against 73,646 in April.

Meanwhile, the number of active subscribers to mobile network services in the country rose marginally by 21,491 in May 2019, the NCC data indicated.

The statistics further showed that while MTN, Airtel and Globacom gained new subscribers in the month of May, 9mobile lost some of its network users.

In April, the four mobile network operators had a total of 173,383,803 active users, which rose to 173,405,294 as of the end of May.

Further analysis of the data indicated that MTN added 80,524 new customers; Globacom gained 91,066 new subscribers; Airtel added 207,091 new users to its network; and 9mobile’s subscribers reduced by 356,826.

According to the NCC data, MTN remains the largest mobile network provider in the country by the number of subscribers, owning 37 per cent market share; it is followed by Globacom with 27 per cent market share.

Airtel is the third largest with 26 per cent market share and 9mobile holds nine per cent market share and the 800Hz Visafone spectrum has one per cent market share.

MTN: Best Mobile Network In Nigeria, Best In South Africa

MyBroadband Insights has released its 2019 Mobile Network Quality Report for the second quarter of the year. The data shows that MTN has been crowned as the best mobile network in South Africa once again.

With the help of 11 004 unique Speed Test users, MyBroadband conducted more than 330 000 speed tests through their Android Speed Test App between 1 April and 30 June 2019.

The research shows that South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 25.67 Mbps, up from 24.20Mbps in the previous quarter.

That is not bad, considering that the most recent Open Signal State of Mobile Network Experience report showed that South Africa’s average download speed is 15 Mbps (Megabits per second.)

Best mobile network in South Africa

The MyBroadband report shows that out of South Africa’s mobile service providers, MTN had the highest average download speed with 35.90 Mbps. South African are addicted to the network because of service like the very cheap MTN Data Plan and other services.

Vodacom was in second place with 29.76 Mbps, followed by Telkom with 23.07, and Rain with 17.91 Mbps. Cell C was last on the list, with only 17.32 Mbps.

The report also shows that there has been a significant increase in network performance from MTN, Vodacom and Telkom in 2019, thanks to the improved LTE coverage and HSPA availability in rural areas.

According to the report, Rain is the only operator that saw a dip in performance during the period from 1 April and 30 June 2019.

New Dangote Promo To Make 21 Million Cement Users Rich

In an unprecedented move to empower millions of its product consumers economically, leading cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc yesterday launched a jumbo consumer promo tagged “Dangote Cement Bag of Goodies”, which is designed to produce 21 million winners across the country.

The promo, which runs between July and September in which prizes worth billions of Naira would be won, was formally unveiled to the media at a news briefing in Lagos. Lucky consumers are to win 43 cars, 24 tricycles, 24 motorcycles, 550 refrigerators, 400 television sets, 300,000 Dangote foods goodies packs and recharge cards for all networks worth N200,000,000.00

While unveiling the promo, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Cement Plc, Engr. Joseph Makoju, who was represented by the Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries Limited, Knut Ulvmoen said the company decided to run the biggest promo ever in Nigeria as a way of contributing to the economic wellbeing of the consumers of its products given the prevailing economic situation.

He said the promo is to reward valued consumers for their unflinching partnership in ensuring that our range of cement products remains today the first choice for construction purposes across the country, and added that the consumer promotion gives opportunities for existing and new consumers to get a step ahead of their struggle for economic emancipation by winning any of the give-away items which has economic value.

“We have made it so transparent that you don’t have to go through any raffle or draw associated with many other promotions in the country. You win instantly because what is revealed in the scratch card is what you win”, he stated.

Explaining why Dangote Cement launched such a humongous promo, Mr. Knut explained that Dangote Cement is the largest in Africa with the largest production capacity and therefore decided to reward the consumers in the biggest way ever experienced in the country. Mr. Aliko Dangote who is the richest man in Nigeria own Dangote cement, in fact, he became one of the richest people in the world through Dangote Cement.

In her presentation on the promo, Dangote Cement Marketing Director, Mrs. Funmi Sanni stated that “Consumers are at the heart of what we do; without them there is no business. Consumers are important and a fundamental factor of production without which production process is incomplete and our ability to remain in business becomes impossible.

“To grow our business, we must constantly create value in terms of quality product and service, competitive pricing and depositing in consumers’ emotional bank accounts in order to become their preferred choice of brand at the point of purchase.”

The Marketing Director said as a business, the management of Dangote Cement recognizes the importance of every member of its value chain, distributors; wholesalers; and retailers, “and as such we have invested in growing their businesses through various empowerment schemes.”

According to her, the new Dangote cement promo bags have been shipped to all distributors and sellers nationwide and therefore there is no fear of scarcity of the new cement product.

She added that “every promo bag of cement contains a scratch card carrying winning items carefully inserted in each bag. Consumers need to be educated to scratch gently so as not invalidate their wining card.” She disclosed that the promo cuts across all Dangote Cement’s brands which include 3X, Falcon and BlocMaster.

Mrs. Sanni explained that the consumer promo was in line with the mission of the company which is to touch the lives of the people by providing their basic needs, and pointed out that the consumer promotion is another huge investment to help the customers improve their rate of sales and make more profit while at the same time improve the consumers’ quality of life. “We are doing this for the sake of our consumers who have not really benefitted much from our previous promo.”

The promo was also endorsed by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. The Deputy Director and Coordinator of the Lagos Liaison Office of the NLRC, Mrs. Nkiru Onuzulu said the promo had been approved and registered with the Commission and can assure that it would be transparent, free and fair all through the processes.

“I can assure you that what you win is what you will get because we are monitoring and regulating the promo, and given the calibre of the company running this promo which is Dangote Cement, there won’t be any undercut.”

Also attesting to the inherent transparency in the promo, President of Blockmakers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasidi Adebowale said Dangote has done a lot of promos that benefited the blockmakers in the past where there was no issue. He said this cannot be an exception.

Osun set to disburse N615m soft loans to small businesses

Osun StateOsun State Government is set to begin the disbursement of over N615 million to micro and small businesses, General Manager of Osun Micro-credit Agency, Mr. Dayo Babaranti said at the weekend.

Babaranti added that the state had so far given out about N4.8 billion to about 28,000 residents to support their businesses.

He said the N615.150 million received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a part payment from the N2 billion revolving Micro Small Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) loan being given to states by the apex bank.

Babaranti, who spoke in his office in Osogbo, the state capital, added that since 2014, the Federal Government, through the CBN, had been releasing intervention funds (MSMEDF) to support socio-economic activities in states.

The General Manager said the N4.8 billion received through the CBN microcredit scheme was disbursed to citizens as soft loans to support small businesses.

According to him, Osun was rated first among the 36 benefiting states of the CBN’s MSMEDF because of its promptness and diligence in repayment and for using the funds for the primary purpose it was meant.

Speaking on the terms and conditions for accessing the loan, Babaranti said the agency had maintained simple and bearable requirements for the citizens, adding that the scheme had helped to rekindle the hope among the citizens who were unable to meet the condition to obtain loans from commercial banks.

He said: “This scheme has been really helpful in boosting socio-economic activities in the state as thousands of people have benefited from it. Our state has received N4.8 billion since the intervention of the CBN on MSMEDF began in 2014, and so far so good, over 28,000 people have benefited from this scheme.

“We have recorded over 70 per cent repayment by beneficiaries. We divide our lending scheme into three categories to accommodate all sectors and these include: individual lending, group lending and SME lending. The maximum amount individual lenders can benefit from this agency isN500,000 and this must be paid back within one year.

“We are empowered to give from zero to N5 million to those who are operating Small and Medium Enterprise, while those under the umbrella of co-operative or group can access limitless funds depending on the strength of their membership.”

“This scheme has helped our people to expand the scope of their businesses, reduce unemployment, eradicate poverty, banish hunger and create a sense of belonging for all. It has helped to improve on the capital of the participating microfinance banks, which has translated into increased sales volume.

“We have made significant improvement on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state through tax payments from the income earned by the beneficiaries. Through this scheme, the nine per cent interest of the facility has forced all microfinance banks in the state to review downwards their hitherto high-interest rates.”

Sunu Assurances backs recapitalisation

The ongoing move to recapitalise Nigerian insurance sector will lead to emergence of a more virile, productive and competitive insurance sector that will contribute more to national development.

Managing Director Sunu Assurances Nigeria Plc  Mr Samuel Ogbodu, at the weekend praised the new policy on minimum capital requirements for insurance functions recently released by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), noting that the move was in the best interest of the insurance sector.

NAICOM had in May 2019 released new capital requirements for insurance businesses with a 13-month compliance period for operators to shore up their minimum capital base to the required level. The minimum paid-up share capital of a life insurance company was increased from N2 billion to N8 billion, non-life insurance from N3 billion to N10 billion, composite insurance from N5 billion to N18 billion while re-insurance companies were directed to raise their capital base from N10 billion to N20 billion.

Ogbodu spoke in Lagos at the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) Quarterly Forum themed, “Deepening insurance penetration through effective broker engagement”.

He said the recapitalisation would lead to consolidation of the insurance sector and provide more opportunities for large ticket transactions while positioning Nigerian insurance companies as big players, as against the current trend of being agents to foreign insurance underwriters.

He added that insurance brokers would have more creative roles to play towards harnessing the benefits of the new capital base requirement.

According to him, the recapitalisation will help to reposition the Nigerian insurance sector to take its rightful place in the country’s economy as insurance companies would at the end of the recapitalisation be able to take up opportunities hitherto taken by foreign companies.

He said various efforts aimed at boosting the insurance sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from its present 0.1 per cent level would be accelerated with the implementation of the new capital base.

Ogbodu was optimistic that insurance penetration in the country would surpass one per cent with proper implementation of the capital raising exercise as players would be forced to harness new grounds.

He assured shareholders that Sunu Assurances Nigeria would surpass the new capital base of N10 billion.

“Sunu is positioned to take up the new challenges, having been rightly placed to meet up with the new capital requirement of N10 billion, even as the framework for the new policy is yet to be released,” Ogbodu said.

He said the new era would open doors for new products, reduce challenges posed by liquidity in the sector, strengthen financial inclusion and as well re-open new regulatory windows for regulators.

He pointed out that Sunu Assurances with its presence in over 14 countries, combined robust product offerings and a unique technology-driven platform, provides insurance management solutions at competitive costs to individuals and institutions.

Executive Director, Strategy and Performance, Sunu Assurances Nigeria Plc, Mr Karim Dione, also lauded the recapitalisation effort, noting that recapitalisation was the right step to take.

He said the players needed to have profitable businesses adding that the potential in Nigeria in terms of size, potential, and resources was enormous for the Sunu Group, which is ready to meet the new capital base.

“SUNU is here to stay because Nigeria is the real market in Africa in size, potential, resources and population,” Dione said.

He noted that the company’s fully paid capital presently stands at N7 billion against N10 billion required for general insurance.

Dione said the company would fully comply with the Naicom’s policy but urged the Commission to make clarification on whether total shareholders’ funds or paid-up share capital will be used to measure the minimum capital base.

Dione said enforcement of the new capital requirement would boost penetration, and also enable companies to take bigger risks.

“Nigeria is extremely competitive, when there are too many players in the industry, it will lead to price dumping. We need to reduce the players in the industry to boost the reputation of the industry,” Dione said.

He said Nigerian insurance brokers were largely professional and ethical contrary to insinuations in some quarters.

Stressing the role of brokers in the sector, Ogbodu said the sector’s earnings were mainly due to the contributions of the brokers that stood at 80 per cent.

“Without the brokers, there won’t be insurance; they contribute about 80 per cent of the earnings. We place very high premium on brokers,” Ogbodu said.

He also commended the efforts of brokers in the industry in strengthening insurance penetration.

EU okays 165m euros for Nigeria’s renewable energy

EU Nigeria’s renewable energyTHE European Union (EU) has approved 165 million euros to support Nigeria’s renewable energy programme, it was gathered at the weekend in Lagos.

Its  Head of Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ketil Karslen, said all was set for the funds to support the aspirations of the Federal Government to improve electricity supply  and grow the economy.

He said the EU set a target of 32 per cent for its 28 member countries  to provide renewable energy by 2030.

According to him, though the target  appears ambitious, it will, nevertheless, enable Africa, especially Nigeria, to improve its renewable activities for economic growth.

In an interview with The Nation on the sideline of an event organised by the Delegation of the EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS in Lagos, Karslen said the fund will help in creating opportunities in the off-grid sub-sector of the electricity industry and grow businesses in the country.

Karlsen said: “More than 80 million people in Nigeria are outside the grid electricity bracket, a development, which has affected the growth of businesses and families. This implies that Africa and

“Nigeria, in particular, has a long way to go in the areas of creation, developing and usage of electricity. This is the reason  EU is supporting power initiatives  in counties in Africa and beyond.

“Nigeria has a  huge population and this informed the decision by EU to support its renewable programme. Renewable is the energy for the future, because it is clean, affordable and provide a conducive habitats for the people.”

On the target, he explained: “If  EU did not set an ambitious target for European countries, in order to motivate Africa to action, it would be difficult for the world to attain a very high standard in the area of provision of electricity.”

According to him, the world is changing, so is every facet of human endeavours.

This, he said, meant that the world must embrace the technology, which would help in providing solar and other renewables.

Nigeria’s population, he said, is growing rapidly, stressing that the development implied that the future generation of the country must  create an revenue that would help sustain growth.

” This is the reason, EU is calling on individuals, communities, states and Federal Government, to see the need to give renewable energy a priority in order to recorded the much needed economic growth,” he said.

IATA: infrastructure, funds, others frustrate Africa’s aviation

Airport infrastructure in most African countries is outdated and not built to serve the growing volume of passengers or cargoes, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said at the weekend.

The body also lamented that carriers and airports are often managed by government entities or regulatory bodies, a development that has impeded the inflow of foreign investments into the sector.  It said modernising infrastructure and operations requires both investment and expertise, ideally from public-private partnerships (PPPs). Africa needs to open its doors for private capital investment, it added.

IATA, however, said intra-African trade will grow from less than 12 per cent in 2013 to about 50 per cent by 2045, while global trade will rise from two per cent to 12 per cent.

Its Regional Vice-President, Muhammed Ali Albakri, said over the next 20 years, demand for air transport is expected to double, with a 4.6 per cent annual growth – the second fastest of all IATA regions.

This, he said translates to an extra 199million passenger journeys per year in 2037 for a total market of 334 million passengers with cargo volumes also expected to double over the next 20 years.

According to him, aviation also plays a central role in achieving 15 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN).

He lauded Ghana for including aviation as part of its National Development Plans under its UNSDG Action Plan, one of the few countries on the continent to so do.

He urged others to follow given the immense benefits that aviation can contribute to economic growth, development and job creation.

He stated that it is evident that aviation in Africa has the potential to fuel trade and economic growth, but lamented that several barriers such as weak and costly infrastructure, high ticket prices, poor intra-Africa connectivity and a proliferation of taxes and charges exist and have done incalculable setback to the continent’s aviation sector.

Countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda are heeding this call and making strategic bets in the sector while employing best practices to drive vibrant aviation growth.

On interconnectivity, stakeholders have decried the cumbersome nature of travelling within Africa which makes air travel very expensive and difficult to move around because of poor connectivity.

To bridge the gap, the Single African Air Transport Market introduced earlier this year aims to open up Africa’s skies and improve intra-African air connectivity has not totally succeeded.

So far, 28 out of 54African countries have signed up. The movement is promising and will be more effective once all African countries come on-board they said.

To resolve all the issues, the IATA chief said the continent must ensure a strong dialogue and partnership between government and the aviation industry, ‘If we are to deliver the economic and social benefits to our citizens’.

The value of Nigeria’s export fell by 3.9 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2018.

The country’s total exports was valued at N4.535tn in Q1 2019, representing a 1.78 per cent rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

The value of total imports increased to N3.7tn in Q1 2019, representing an increase of 3.39 per cent and 29.84 per cent compared to Q4 2018 and Q1 2018.

The trade balance remained positive at N831.6bn in Q1 2019, boosted by increases in both exports and imports.

The boost also helped total trade increase to N8.239tn, 2.50 per cent and 7.52 per cent higher compared to Q4 2018 and Q1 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics’ report on foreign trade statistics.

Export trade was dominated by crude oil exports, which contributed N3.376tn or 74.45 per cent to the value of total exports in Q1 2019.

Further analysis revealed that Nigeria exported mainly mineral products, which amounted to N3.95tn or 87.1 per cent of the total value of exports.

This was followed by vehicles, aircraft and parts; prepared food stuff, beverages, spirits; and vegetable products, which respectively accounted for N418bn or 9.22 per cent, N55.4bn or 1.2 per cent and N49.0bn or 1.1 per cent of the total exports.

In Q1 2019, products exported to Europe, Asia and Africa were valued at N1.833tn (40.43 per cent of total exports), N1.324tn (29.2 per cent) and N936.8bn (20.67 per cent) respectively.

The country exported goods worth N405.8bn (8.95 per cent) to the Americas and N34.5bn (0.76 per cent) to Oceania.

Within Africa, Nigeria exported goods valued at N300.6bn to ECOWAS member states (representing 32.08 per cent of total merchandise exports to Africa).

By country of destination, the country exported goods mainly to India, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa and France, valued at N745bn (16.43 per cent), N487.1bn (10.74 per cent), N405.4bn (8.9 per cent), N325.5bn (7.2 per cent) and N302.3bn (6.7 per cent) respectively.

The President, Insurance Industry Consultative Council, Mr Eddie Efekoha, has assured that operators in the insurance industry will support the National Insurance Commission to grow the industry.

Efekoha said this at the 2019 IICC retreat in Ijebu Ode, while applauding NAICOM for setting the pace of recapitalisation in the financial sector.

Efekoha said, “The wind of recapitalisation is blowing. When we came back from South Africa, we heard that of Ghana Insurers and the Central Bank of Nigeria planned recapitalisation, and I think the insurance regulator should be recommended for setting the pace.

“I can assure you that the operators will not go against our regulator because the consequences of that is too grievous. However, there is a limit at which operators can control other stakeholders like the shareholders and investors. We cannot stop them from speaking their minds, but whatever they have said do not represent the operators’/managers’ decision.”

Efekoha, while giving reason for the recapitalisation exercise, said, “The reasons NAICOM gave for the recapitalisation exercise are the same reasons CBN is giving which are the issues of exchange rate and capacity.

“If these are the main reasons for the recapitalisation exercise, the truth of the matter is that the exchange rate that applied in 2005/2007 is not the same in 2018/19.

“Secondly, if the exchange rate has changed, our ability to retain businesses has weaken. Should we enhance it? Yes! I think we should enhance it.”

The President, Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria, Alhaji Femi Hassan, said, “We, at ILAN, want this recapitalisation to take place. We are eagerly waiting for it to take place, because it will enable the operators to put some structures in place that will help to grow the industry.

Banks’ non-performing loans fall to 9% – CBN

The non-performing loans of the banks fell by six per cent from 15 per cent in June 2017 to nine per cent in May 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria said.

It stated that Capital Adequacy Ratio for the banking industry improved from 11 per cent in June 2017 to over 16 per cent in May 2019 and liquidity levels had also increased by over 20 per cent within the same period.

The bank said, “In addition, the ratio of non-performing loans in the banking system has reduced from 15 per cent in June 2017 to nine per cent in May 2019, due to concerted efforts by the CBN and the Deposit Money Banks, although more work is being done to moderate NPL levels to the maximum prescribed level of five per cent.

“Our financial institutions are well-positioned to perform their intermediation role, which will ultimately help in supporting the growth of our economy.”

According to the bank, the drop-in commodity prices affected a good number of banks given their exposure to the oil and gas sector.

Unfortunately, it added, these resulted in an increase in non-performing loans of its banks.

As a result of risk management measures embarked upon by the CBN, it added, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios of commercial banks were now above the prudential level.

Banking sector’s non-performing loans stood at N1.676tn as of the end of March 2019, the latest statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed.

The gross loans recorded in the banking sector stood at N15.480tn, while the loans after specific provisions stood at N13.739tn in the period under review.

The ratio of the non-performing loans to total loans was 10.83 per cent, while non-performing loans to total loans after specific provisions was 12.2 per cent.

The figure of non-performing loans at the end of 2018 was N1.792tn, while the gross loans and loans after specific provisions were N15.353tn and N13.562tn respectively.