Mr. Larry Chinekezi, is managing /CEO of Tradeways Express, the largest indigenous independent courier company in Nigeria today
He is a recipient of many awards for outstanding contributions to the growth of the communications industry and has demonstrated high sense of accountability, integrity and transparency in his public and private life. Chinekezi has over 21 years experience in the courier industry and was once the managing director of TNT/IAS Express before leaving for Tradeways Express.
Independent Regulator for the Sector
So much has been said in that direction in the last three years. We have presented papers and have met with the Minister of Information and Communications and other stakeholders on that. We have presented papers to them and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had in few occasions called stakeholders meeting where we dialogued over this issue and papers presented to the problem were harmonized. BPE is anchoring the process and I do know as I speak that the matter is in the National Assembly now. It is left for them to go on with their legislative function. We have been expecting that the public forum would have been called by now by the National Assembly so that people can defend their proposals and have the opportunity to say their minds. I can tell you right now that all the stakeholders have agreed that it is desirable but when it will actualize, I cannot tell.
Document Favouring Nipost
We are talking about privatization here and we do believe that the BPE people are well informed just as you said they are partnering with an international consultancy firm who knows what to do and even the publications we made gave our own input into the matter. We expect that when the document comes out, it is a document that will take care of every input made by all the stakeholders. So it is not going to be something for Nipost alone because we have said very clearly that it should not be something that will give birth to monopoly. it should not turn a public institution into a private monopoly. It has to be something that will take care of the interests of Nigerians. Just like when the telecom sector was liberalized, every body saw the system open up and nobody had any negative thing to say about it. So we expect to go the same way. We have no fear at the back of our mind that BPE will do the right thing.
Involvement in Illegal Drugs Business
No licensed courier company worth its salt will want to mingle with fraudsters. But looking at the other way round, it is human being that carry drugs and they must use the normal channel of movement and you see them being caught more often than not trying to board one international flight or the other. The owners of the airlines on their own wouldn’t want to accommodate the drug traffickers but for the fact that they do it without the airliners knowing makes it difficult for the airliners. The security operatives at the airport now know how to catch them in their game in the past if somebody has used a courier firm to move drugs, it does not mean courier companies have started to partner with drug barons or 419 people. It does not happen that somebody can use the system without the knowledge of the operator. That is why you have the NDLEA operatives manning major courier companies here especially those that have international consignments. They are also at the airport to ensure that every export material is screened. So that way, I am sure they will be able to catch anybody who abuses the system.
Areas of Reform by Tradeways
Well, there have been challenges with the economy going up and down. The reform is geared towards ensuring that we can absorb shocks arising from negative turn around in the economy. If you look at the existing infrastructure in the country, sometime ago Nepa was almost nonexistent and we had to rely solely on our own electric power generation because we needed to use energy to power our computers and reach our customers on line. The roads are also very bad and the airlines are not working as they used to. Courier service is synonymous with all services. Then, 95 percent of courier materials used to move by air but now the reverse is the case. About 5 per cent of courier materials are moving by air while 95 per cent are moving by road. That is why you have to look at that area and ensure you have seamless operation, which is the area we have focused on to ensure that we don’t only have the right system but also the customers. We initially focused on courier but as our business began to expand, we felt the need to invest more into cargo and international freight and that means having more cars, more professional staff coming in. Our staff strength has increased and as we continue to expand, it will keep increasing. The cost of doing business has gone up so much that we no longer talk about bottom-line, we are talking about survival in the face of difficulties. We are eventually doing everything by ourselves. The ones government used to do before, they are no longer doing them. So we have to employ staff and train them regularly. That is part of our expansion programme.
Level of Investment in Courier
Level of investment in courier is very poor compared with level of investment in the telecommunications sector. That is why we are hoping that the new regulator that is being expected will look more into professionalism rather the ability to issue licenses. Paying one million naira to acquire the license does not mean that somebody is ready to offer courier service as it should be. There is high level of investment required. Courier service requires enormous amount of money to run and when somebody does not have such huge amount of money to run the business, he can hardly create awareness. Over there, as it should be, supply chain management has improved so much. Companies no longer own warehouses where they stock their goods as they produce, courier companies, logistics companies go to the production line to pick up these goods as they come out and move them to places where they are needed in the distribution channel, and even warehouse for them so that when the goods are needed as required by their distributors, wholesalers and consumers, they can distribute from those end points. It is no longer the situation where for instance, you have Cadbury moving their goods from Lagos to all parts of the country. This will require Cadbury having large fleet of trucks to be able to do that . but you now have a logistics company that is supporting them. As these goods are coming out, they are picking them and distributing them. Manufacturing companies don’t have to buy trucks and opening warehouses all over the country. They rely on our logistics and then have the opportunity to focus on core business of production and it reduces a lot of cost for them. The kind of investment we are making is geared towards ensuring that we have what it takes to undertake such logistics services to the manufacturing sector and other sectors that require it.
Any Plans for Franchising
Oh yes and that‘s an area we are looking at. At the moment, we are still in the drawing board, we have not finalized arrangements. It’s an area we are looking at to be able to get the business closer to the people, even those in the hinterland/ we don’t have to go opening up offices and equipping them when there is somebody there ( a local person ) that can run it successfully. All we need do is to give him the backbone, the professional support and know how and ensure that standard is available there and service is seamless. So we are looking into that and that is part of how we want to achieve our goal of becoming the leading logistics courier company in Nigeria
Ensuring Quality in the Arrangement
It is just like having an agency of a telecom company. They provide the backbone. On your own, you don’t have to switch a network and all that, you are just an outlet. You have the manpower and the location. In every other thing, you still work through them. In the same way, you will just have an outlet there and our network is extended to that place. So we can still pick up and deliver.
Competition in the Industry
In every business, there are always market leaders. It so happened that the so called foreign courier companies are part of the market leaders. So market leaders always determine the way market is done in a particular sector. Again, I said something about investment, if you have what it takes to compete with these people, of course, you can , but if you don’t have, you cannot be like them. When we started in 2002, we said we wanted to compete with the biggest in the industry and we set out and opened 37 offices in all the thirty six states of the federation the same day plus Abuja. So, on day one we opened, we had branches in all the states. We never gave anybody to deliver for us. The same also across the country. We also secured our international relationship so that our mails outside the country can be delivered using our own network without using anybody within the country and I can tell you that the first mail we handled when we started was an international mail that went to Bangkok, Thailand and it was delivered in three days and that gave us the impetus that we had a good future. It was a test case just like when a telecom company comes up and they do their test run.. In fact our feat brought about change in the courier service. We came with a bang and sold the idea to courier companies that operated that time that things could be done in a better way and you can see what has happened in the last six years.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed
By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,
After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.
The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.
Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?
From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.
In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.
As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
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