Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to playing a role in driving socio- economic growth and development in the country.
According to Ahmad Farroukh, the company’s chief executive officer, ‘one of our key objectives when we launched our operation in 2001 was to use telecommunications as a platform to unleash Nigeria’s strong potential for development’.
In providing telecommunications services to over 25 million active subscribers, he said, MTN operation has registered an impact that clearly underscores the wide-ranging economic multiplier nature of investment in telecommunications. The multidimensional impact of our over $5 billion investment in our network rollout includes job creation and the empowerment of thousands of small and medium businesses.
“Today, in addition to over 5000 base stations, MTN has put in place a 5,411 kilometre fibre optic transmission backbone, which is the longest private infrastructure of its kind in Africa. The fibre optics ‘super highway’ is the catalyst for an ICT revolution which will impact the whole of sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr. Farroukh said.
He also revealed that in recognition of customer demand in the busiest commercial hubs of the country, MTN is also erecting metropolitan ‘self healing’ fibre rings across major cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ibadan. The effect of the metropolitan network would be a dramatic improvement in the quality of service and increased robustness of the network in those areas.
Speaking on quality of service, Mr Farroukh said that in 2008 the company achieved an average monthly build rate of 120 base stations, a feat that has remained unsurpassed in Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa. “We will continuously redouble our efforts to ensure that the growing needs of our country, for quality voice and data services are met in a most satisfactory manner”.
The company plans to invest over N180 billion on its network rollout in 2009. In 2008, it invested approximately N137 billion representing more than 30% of the CAPEX budget allocation for the entire MTN Group which has a footprint in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Mr. Farroukh also stated that the company would continue to make the necessary investments in telecommunications infrastructure as well as in all levels of government through the payment of tax.
He explained the importance that the company attaches to timely payment of its taxes in order to discharge its own civic responsibilities and to ensure that government receives the necessary resources to meet their own statutory obligations for the common good.
MTN paid approximately N151Billion in VAT and other levies to various agencies of Government during the period of its pioneer status from 2001-6.
‘We believe that tax compliance is key to good corporate citizenship. Indeed in 2008 we paid in excess of N87 Billion and we believe that this figure is a significant contribution to Nigeria’s GDP by a single company”.
It will be recalled that MTN Nigeria won the Lagos State award for the ‘Best corporate compliant company on P.A.Y.E payer’ in 2007 and 2008
The company has won numerous awards for its corporate citizenship, especially in the area of corporate social investment through the MTN Foundation.
Explaining the guiding principles of the MTN Foundation, Mr. Farroukh described corporate social responsibility as an integral part of the company’s business strategy.
He said that MTN through its Foundation would remain focused on implementing high impact corporate social investments across the country. To date, the Foundation which is funded by up to1% Profit after Tax from MTN has 107 project sites in 28 states and the Federal Capital Territory
Farroukh pointed out that the fortunes of the company therefore directly impacts the funds available for social investments, commenting that the company has been able to deploy sizeable funds to numerous initiatives that have improved the lives of numerous Nigerians.
‘Every recharge card that is bought contributes to the improvement of numerous lives. We have our customers to thank for all that we are able to do for the most vulnerable Nigerians through the Foundation,’ said Mr Farroukh.
Bolt Expands Operations to Jos
Bolt, leading ride-hailing app in Africa, has expanded its operations in Nigeria with the launch of its services in Jos.
This announcement comes shortly after the company announced that it had launched an Insurance Protection cover that safeguards riders and drivers in all its operational cities across the country.
Bolt started operating in Nigeria in 2017 and is already the largest on-demand transportation network in the country.
The expansion brings Bolt’s cities in Nigeria to a total of 12 including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Uyo, Calabar, Kano, Abeokuta, Enugu, Ibadan and Benin City.
Femi Akin-Laguda, country manager, Bolt Nigeria, said,“Demand for ride-hailing transportation is growing across Nigeria as people desire more flexible ways to move and the cost of car ownership continues to rise.
“Ride-hailing services like Bolt make it possible for more people to enjoy the convenience, affordability and safety of getting from one place to another, while simultaneously providing a steady income for thousands of drivers and vehicle owners who utilise the platform to earn an income and support their families on a flexible schedule with no commitments,” he continued.
Bolt has been hugely successful in every city where it has launched and with this expansion move, continues to solidify its footprint across the country.
In celebration of its launch in Jos, Bolt has announced that it will offer a launch discount to riders while offering drivers 0% commission for the first three months.
One of Bolt’s key success factors in its growth, and rapid expansion has been the fact that drivers utilising its platform receive 80% to 85% of fares paid by riders – a significantly higher percentage than what drivers using other similar platforms receive.
CSCS Sensitizes Financial Market Stakeholders on Cyber-Security
Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure, sustains cyber-security advocacy as it sensitizes financial market participants on rising rate of cybercrime.
In a webinar organized by CSCS, financial market stakeholders, including bankers and capital market operators dialogued on innovative measures for preventing cybercrimes, dire need for increased campaign and exigency of collaborative investments to reign the rising rate of cybercrime.
The online event themed “Cyber Security and Information During the Pandemic” was lauded for its timeliness, as COVID-19 pandemic and attendant remote connections may have increased cyber-security risks in many organizations, particularly as the crime rate surges globally, with rising exposure of financial services institutions in Nigeria and the broader African continent.
The event which was widely attended with participants from the banking sector, capital market and public service, had Mr. Tobe Nnadozie (Divisional Head, Technology and Innovations, CSCS Plc), Mr. Bharat Soni (Chief Information Security Officer, GTBank Plc) and Mr. Ikechukwu Ugoji (Chief Information Security Officer, Interswitch Limited) as panelists.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, the Chief Executive Officer, CSCS Plc, noted that “cybersecurity is a collective effort and everyone must play their role to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the financial market.
The pandemic and its attendant remote connections occasioned by business continuity and work-from-home protocols have increased exposures to cyber-security risks and some businesses may have suffered colossal losses due to cyberattacks since the pandemic.
More than ever, cyberattacks are like a double whammy at this challenging time when businesses are re-strategizing to adapt to the new normal and ensure sustainability.”
Mr. Femi Onifade, the Chief Strategy Officer, CSCS Plc reiterated the CEO’s perspective, noting that “a breach on any market participant’s network may inadvertently expose the entire system, thus reinforcing why we must collaborate to prevent any vulnerabilities in the financial system and why all participants and stakeholders must take active and effective measures in ensuring and sustaining cyber-resilience.”
While speaking at the event, Mr. Bharat Soni said, “new work culture has expanded remote activities and cloud capabilities to an unprecedented level, thereby making businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks such as online scams and phishing, disruptive malware, malicious domains amongst others.
Hence, the use of strong authentication for accessing networks would no longer be an option but a necessity.” He concluded that “Awareness of the new realities of safe cyber practices need to be communicated to employees, partners and customers so that they can remain aware of the evolving cyber threat and how to best protect themselves and their organizations”.
In the same vein, Mr. Ikechukwu Ugoji said, “over 90% of cyber breaches are facilitated by phishing email or social engineering attack and that every employee is a first-line of defence against incoming threats and employees must be made to understand their vital roles and responsibility in protecting the organization.”
On his part, Mr. Tobe Nnadozie, posited that “the pattern of spend on cybersecurity shows clearly that organizations are making relevant investments to protect their systems and broader market, albeit sadly, lack of vigilance is the leading cause of breaches”.
Muoghalu, Kukah Headline ARCAN Lectures
Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has lined up a two-week long, five-lecture series to commemorate the 60th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.
The lecture series scheduled to commence from Tuesday September, 22 through to Tuesday, October 6 2020 is themed Nigeria @ 60- The Journey So Far.
Dr. Kingsley Muoghalu, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and a presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election is expected to kick off the lecture series on Tuesday. He speaks on the topic: Nationhood, Development and Democracy in Nigeria.
Other speakers include the highly revered Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who would be speaking on Thursday, September 24 on the topic: 60 years of Nigeria’s Journey to Democracy: Hopes and Impediments.
Dr Vanessa Iwowo, an award-winning management scholar takes the stage on Monday 28 September, 2020 and she would dwell on the topic: [email protected]: Leadership, Democracy and the Politics of Identity.
Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 would be the turn of political activist and scholar Dr. Usman Bugaje to explore the topic: 60 years of Nation-Building: The Management of Our Diversity, Resources and Nation-Building.
Erudite scholar and specialist in International Relations, Prof W. Alade Fawole, is billed to speak on Tuesday 6th October, 2020 on the topic: Nigeria in International Affairs: Prognosis for the next Sixty Years.
The host, Ambassador Joe Keshi, said remarks would be made by an array of eminent Nigerians including ARCAN President, Amb J.K Shinkaiye, ARCAN’s Doyen , Amb Ignatius C. Olisemeka and other eminent Nigerians and diplomats.
According to Keshi, “the series will review the state of our nation in the last 60 years and how the lofty dreams of our founding fathers of building a just and equitable nation where no man is oppressed can be truly attained.
“Additionally, it will review the impact of domestic policies on our foreign policy pursuits and engagement, and above all, offer a futuristic vision of what our foreign policy priorities in the next 60 years should be like,” he said.
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