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Experts Emphasize Need for Adequate Financing of the Power Sector

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Experts have highlighted the need for adequate financing of the energy sector in Nigeria. This emphasis was made at the 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition and Conference which held at the Landmark Centre Lagos.

The 2019 Power Nigeria Exhibition and Conference, the largest power event serving West African utility, commercial, industrial and key-end user markets brought together experts from the financial sectors including, the Central Bank of Nigeria, FBNQuest Merchant Bank and Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund to discuss collaborative strategies to close the financial gap in the Power sector.

The experts shed light on the reforms needed in the energy sector to attain its full potential and yield returns on investments. They also discussed how lack of access to capital is hindering the electricity sector.

Also highlighted were frameworks for assisting companies with funding requests; risk mitigation tools in projects or expansions; electricity-focused mutual funds/collective investment schemes in Nigeria; returns investors can expect and how lending rates can be improved in the next two years.

Speaking at the Conference, the Commissioner, Ekiti State Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Hon. Bamidele Faparusi, explained how good customer relationships are essential for improving the quality of power in the country.

Using Ekiti state as a case study, the Commissioner said, “improving the power sector in Nigeria calls for collaborative effort between the government, private sector and the end users. Unpaid electricity bills affect the proper running of the sector, hence, a need for DisCos to build trust and maintain good relationships with the end users so as to minimize default in payments and address power issues.

“In addition, huge financial investments should be made in distribution networks to attain smartness and profitability while regulatory agencies should ensure compliance with stipulated rules and guidelines”.

On her part, Head –Energy and Natural Resources, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Rolake Akinkugbe-Filani said there is a huge financial gap in the sector that needs to be urgently addressed to meet sector growth.

According to Akinkugbe-Filani, “the Nigerian Power Sector needs to rid itself of legacy debt of over 300 Billion Naira if any progress is to be made. There is a need for private funding to be injected into the system and for an urgent shift in the funding landscape from investment banks to SME initiatives. Private sector investment could come in terms of advisory, capacity building for project developers as well as financing for capital projects”.

Power Nigeria exists to serve the West African and Nigerian energy market. The event has successfully established itself as an annual hub for suppliers to meet buyers, driving the energy markets in Nigeria forward. The international brand status combined with local knowledge & stakeholder partnerships results in making Power Nigeria a must-attend event for all energy industry professionals. Join Power Nigeria 2019 from 24-26 September 2019.


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Top 5 Comedy Channels on YouTube in Nigeria

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A good dose of laughter boosts the immune system scientists agree. And in between the daily hustle, laughter is a good outlet for releasing stress. Nigerian comedians have latched on the cracks in our cultural diversity and day-to-day interactions to create authentic and engaging content that is gaining popularity amongst local audiences. Here are the top five Nigerian comedy channels on YouTube you should check out.

Mark Angel Comedy

Mark Angel Comedy has over six million subscribers and more than a billion views. The channel has delivered undiluted comedy to its audience since 2013, making Emanuella into one of Nigeria’s favourite characters. Emanuella is joined by Chukwuemeka, Denilson Igwe and Success as they get caught up in scenarios that reveal their ridiculousness and wittiness.

Nigeria Comedy Skit

Comedy skits have become a trend. Nigeria Comedy Skit collates skits from Nollywood movies and other Nigerian comedians who share content on the internet. Most of the videos on the channel are from Nollywood comedy stars, Aki and PawPaw but it also features videos from Sirbalo Clinic, Baba de Baba, Aboki 4 Christ and others. With over 150 million views, the videos on this channel are clearly leaving Nigerians laughing.

AY Comedian

AY Comedian is the official YouTube channel of Ayodeji Richard Makun, also known as AY, one of Nigeria’s top comedians. His channel has over 120 million views with more than 600 000 subscribers and features hilarious videos from previous AY shows, AY skits with popular celebrities, AY Crib Sitcom and more. AY is particularly known for the “Who wants to be a Billionaire” skits where Akpos uses warri pidgin language to anchor a parody of the “Who wants to be a millionaire” show.

Official Broda Shaggi

Broda Shggi is referred to as Nigeria’s number one fine boy “agebero”. The “Oya Hit Me” comedian has over 500 000 subscribers and over 90 million views on his YouTube Channel,  Official Broda Shaggi. To get an idea of how funny he is, check out Big Brother Naija’s Mercy Lambo slapping Broda Shaggi, when Broda Shaggi finally kissed DJ Cuppied or if you need to know what Broda Shaggi looks for in a woman. His goofy videos will leave you hooting with laughter. You can also watch musical videos too.

Yawa Skits

Yawa Skits is a comedy series about survival.  The channel has over 300, 000 subscribers and above 30 million views. The videos are based on the Kalistus daily struggle to earn a living by all means. Check out The Impersonator, The Accidental Drug Dealer and Bus Runz for a good laugh.


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4 Ways to Ensure Your Business Software Provider is Doing All it Can to Protect Your Data

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By Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation

In the past few years, privacy breaches around the world have made technology users conscious about the way their data is being used. You only need to look at the growth of privacy-centric products like search engine DuckDuckGo to see how mainstream privacy awareness has become.

But data privacy issues don’t just affect private individuals. They can have a massive impact on businesses, with the average data breach costing in excess of US$3.8-million. Surveillance companies, which rely heavily on showing ads to survive, collect user information even from adjunct properties (such as websites of service providers) without users’ permission. B2B companies frequently use products and services from these surveillance companies, giving them access to their users’ data.

What can you do to ensure that you find a business software provider that doesn’t drag you into this trap?

1. Ensure they don’t allow third-party trackers

Many business software providers use third-party trackers that allow them to study their website visitors. However, the apps they use to track them use that data to sell ads. This is known as adjunct surveillance. With the upcoming macOS Big Sur update, it will be easier for users to know which websites are tracking them.

When it comes to choosing a software solution for your organisation, look for the ones which entirely block third-party companies across all their properties. Another thumb-rule is that vendors who have ad-based revenue model, are dependent on selling your data so it’s best to avoid them, if you are serious about protecting your data.

2. Look for regulatory compliance

While governments around the globe have generally been slow when it comes to enacting protective legislation, they have made up ground in recent years.

In South Africa, for instance the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) recently came into effect, while the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been so since May 2018.

While being able to demonstrate compliance is by no means a guarantee that your business software provider will protect your data, it shows that they at least have basic privacy and security structure in place.

3. Regular communication around data protection

One of the most powerful tools any organisation has at its disposal when it comes to data protection is user education. The data and security landscape is, after all, evolving constantly and your business software provider needs to be on top of that.

If your provider is educating you on the latest data threats, it’s a powerful demonstration that it cares about you keeping your data secure. Moreover, a provider that empowers its clients in this way is a good indicator that it’s doing everything on its end to protect your data too.

4. It’s honest about its revenue streams

In the business software space, the old saying about cheap being expensive can be further extrapolated to “free can prove really expensive”.

If a service is free, think twice before using it in your organisation (no matter how much money you think it might save). Rather look for providers which at least have some form of paid product. This means they’re much less likely to depend on ad-revenue and therefore expose your data to other parties.

Prioritising privacy

Over the past few years, millions of words have been devoted to talking about how valuable user data is. Because of the value, we have probably swung too far when it comes to surveillance and harvesting.

It’s time to swing in the other direction. You should always own your data and, far from selling it, your business software provider should be doing everything in its power to protect it.


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Is Gold the New Oil for Nigeria?

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

Stratospheric Gold prices and spiritless Oil prices would seem to indicate that the state’s investment in Gold mining is a timely and positive one.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gold remains a market-moving and safe-haven asset after spot prices hit all-time highs above $1981 in July. The precious metal appreciated almost 30 percent for the year-to-date and is roughly $50 away from $2000 at the time of writing.

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Gold draws strength from fundamentals

There are several factors over-and-above the COVID-19 disease that are supporting Gold prices.

Safe-haven buying triggered by fears over tense US-China relations has boosted the metal’s spot and futures prices. In recent events, the US closed one of its six consulates in China and a Chinese consulate in Houston was closed, raising questions about whether the second phase of trade talks can make any constructive progress.

In addition, the Dollar’s weakness due to low yields on Treasury bonds and exposure to negative COVID-19 sentiment has prompted investors to favour Gold over the USD. So far this year, the Federal Reserve has followed a dovish approach as fears mount over a second wave of COVID-19 hampering an economic recovery.

Nigeria’s new Gold reserve

For the first time, Nigeria has refined its own reserve Gold bar and paid N268 million for the 12.5 kg bar to start a central bank stock, shining a bright spot amid all the economic headwinds.

Given the previously-mentioned support factors for the precious metal’s prices, Nigeria’s new Gold reserve comes at a promising juncture for the country’s emerging mining industry.

It is also an encouraging development in the diversification of the national economy which the government hopes could lead to a stronger job market. If well harnessed, Gold mining and trading has the ability to potentially generate more revenue than crude Oil for Nigeria.

Looking at the mathematics

The underlying maths in Nigeria’s Gold market show strong potential.

Nigeria’s Gold reserve is estimated at 200 million metric tonnes, according to the Nigeria Mining Growth Roadmap. Meanwhile, Trading Economics places Nigeria as the six largest country with Gold deposits in Africa, with an average of 21.46 tonnes from 2000 to 2019, reaching an all-time high of 21.51 tonnes in July 2019. The nation’s current estimated Gold reserves are over 200 million ounces, most of which have not been exploited.

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The newly-regulated Gold mining sector is expected to create 250,000 new jobs and provide the Federal Government with an additional estimated annual revenue of $150 million in taxes, $25 million in royalties and $500 million in foreign exchange reserves.

These positive developments in the Gold mining and central bank reserve initiatives may help to improve investor sentiment against the background of COVID-19, low Oil prices and the expectation that Nigeria’s economy could contract by anything from three to six percent this year. We must also factor in another hit to export earnings caused by the deeper cuts imposed by OPEC on Nigeria and Iraq due to overproduction.

In conclusion, a well-managed diversification into precious metals mining and building a national Gold stock can support the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves long term, as well as boost other wider types of Gold trading like derivative investments and mining stocks. However, care must be taken to protect the new sector’s reputation and government regulations would need to be seen as enforceable for long-term credibility.


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