MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has released its unaudited result for the six months ended June 30 and announced an interim dividend of N2.95 per share to its shareholders.
The company disclosed this through its unaudited results for the six months ended 30th June 2019, released on Friday in Lagos.
Commenting on the report, Ferdi Moolman, CEO, MTN Nigeria, said: “In the first half of 2019, we sustained a solid performance, delivering double-digit growth in service revenue, underpinned by growth in voice and data revenue.
“We added 3.3 million customers to our network, increasing our subscriber base to 61.5 million.
“Pleasingly we saw data subscribers increase in the period by 2.1 million to 20.7 million.
“We made significant network investments to improve network quality and expand our 4G coverage.
“Our recent work to revamp our data prices and accelerate our 4G network has put us in a strong competitive position to offer more value to our customers, supporting data and voice revenue growth which will ultimately strengthen our business.
“We are pleased with obtaining a super-agent license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable us to build an agent network and accelerate the growth of our finTech business.
“In May, MTN Nigeria was successfully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), making us the first mobile network operator to list on the NSE.
“The listing demonstrates our commitment to the Nigerian market and provides local investors with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the company’s growth prospects.
“We made changes to our Board following the retirement of six pioneer Non-Executive Directors on the expiration of their tenure and in compliance with applicable corporate governance codes.
“We express our heartfelt appreciation to our out-going Directors for their contributions to the success of the Company. We also welcome the incoming ones whose combination of extensive experience across the worlds of technology, Finance, regulatory and policy development and corporate governance offers a hugely synergistic set of skills that will be of great benefit to us as we move into a new phase of growth.
“Our Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Adekunle Awobodu has also indicated his intention to resign from the position of the CFO of the company in H2 of 2019 for Family related reasons.
“The identification of a suitable successor has reached an advanced stage to facilitate a seamless transition. To ensure continuity on certain projects, Mr Awobodu has graciously accepted to continue to support the company on consultancy basis.
“The Board extends its appreciation to Mr. Awobodu for his contributions to the growth of the company.
“In line with our dividend policy guidance at listing, the Board has approved a maiden interim dividend as a listed company, of N2.95 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable net income.
On the operational review, Moolman said, “MTN Nigeria delivered a solid performance, with strong voice (+11.4%) and data revenue (+31.7%) driving double-digit service revenue growth and Further improving the margin on earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).
“Voice revenue growth was supported by an increase in subscribers (+5.7%), relatively stable tariffs and our Focus on pro-consumer activities. This was boosted by our targeted customer value management (CVM) initiatives.
“Data revenue growth was driven by an increased number of smartphones on the network, greater data usage and growth in the number of active data users.
“We added 2.5 million smartphones, increasing smartphone penetration by 2.1pp to 39.2%. Active data subscribers increased by 11.0% to 20.7 million and data traffic rose by 67% YoY.
“Our Fintech business continued to gain momentum with 21.2% growth in revenue YoY.
“The super-agent license will allow us to leverage our established distribution channels to offer a wide range of mobile Financial services. We will continue to work forwards obtaining a Payment Service Banking license that we applied For in late 2018. Digital revenue continued to be impacted by the optimisation of value-added services (VAS).
“However, our focus is to build a sustainable base of active digital users in order to boost revenue growth.
“Our enterprise business also delivered satisfactory results, with revenue increasing by 31.3% to contribute 11.9% to service revenue.
“We recorded an EBITDA margin of 53.8% on account of the implementation of IFRS 16.
“On an IAS 17 bass, operating expenses increased by 9.7%, below inflation. The 1.5pp improvement in the EBITDA margin was supported by a stable naira against the US dollar benefiting our operating expenses as well as lower digital expenses arising From our VAS optimisation initiatives.
“Our bottom line remained strong with 30.9% and 34.8% growth in profit before and after tax respectively, while earnings per share increased by 34.8% to 486 kobo.
On the Corporate and legal matters, he stated “The hearing on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) matter, which was originally scheduled to hold on June 26, 2019 for commencement of trial on the substantive issue before the court was adjourned to October 29 and 31 2019. We remain resolute that MTN Nigeria has not committed any offence and will continue to defend this position.
“The redemption of MTN Nigeria’s Preference shares has always been envisaged as a necessary part of the simplification of our capital structure. The redemption process is underway and will be completed after necessary regulatory process.
“Our overriding priority for the rest of the year is to Focus on our BRIGHT strategy to build a sustainable business and create value for customers.
“We will continue to progress in the second half of the year making improvements to our network experience, subscriber growth and enhance operational efficiency.
“We expect lower data pricing and our acceleration of the 4G network expansion to bolster the acquisition of customers and data traffic volumes in the second half.”
FCT Lifts Suspension Order on Masts, Towers
Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has finally lifted the suspension order it earlier placed on telecoms masts and towers in Abuja metropolis.
The FCTA has therefore asked telecoms operators to commence fresh moves to regularise, update and settle all outstanding bills on their masts and towers to enable them resume installation of masts and towers in the territory.
Relieved of the burden of the suspension of telecoms masts installation in Abuja, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licenced Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that the suspension order would enable telecoms operators resume telecoms masts and other telecoms infrastructure rollout in Abuja, a situation, he said would address the issue of poor telecoms services in Abuja and its environ, having suffered from poor telecoms service delivery in the territory since the suspension order in February this year.
The FCT Administration had on February 3, 2020, placed a suspension order for the installation of telecoms masts and towers in the federal capital territory and communicated same to all telecoms operators through a letter.
In a recent letter dated September 25, 2020, written to all telecoms operators through their association, ALTON, the FCT Administration lifted the suspension order and asked telecoms operators to commence masts installation after seeking the necessary approvals.
Part of the letter with reference No: FCDA/ES/460/Vol.1, which was signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Olusade Adesola, read: “I wish to refer to our letter dated February 3, 2020, which conveyed the suspension of the grant of permits for the erection of telecoms masts/towers in the FCT and the series of correspondences by you dated April 30, July 14, and September 8, 2020, wherein you appealed for reconsideration of the directive to facilitate prompt resumption of the issuance of the build permit process.
“After carefully studying your concerns, the FCT Administration is delighted to convey the lifting of the suspension of the processing/grant of permits for telecoms masts and towers in the FCT, with effect from the date of this letter.”
Reacting to the letter, Adebayo said: “For some time now, telecoms operators in Abuja have not been able to provide adequate capacity to carry the load of Abuja subscribers because of the non-approval of the expansion of telecoms masts and towers by the FCT Administration.
The implication is that those who travelled into Abuja from other states and from other countries were not able to have uninterrupted telecoms services, which was a reputation issue for the country, because travelers will leave the country with the impression that telecoms services are poor in the country. But with the lifting of the suspension order, telecoms operators will be able to install more masts that will lead to better user experience of telecoms services in Abuja. The government agencies will also have better user experience and service delivery.”
“We are happy with the lifting of the suspension order for the telecoms masts and towers in Abuja, and we are glad that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, was able to resolve this for us. So we are ready to expand telecoms infrastructure in the FCT.”
FG Launches Digital Nigeria Portal, Mobile App
Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) has unwrapped a Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile Application in furtherance of the Digital Nigeria Programme.
The Digital Nigeria Programme was kick-started by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 19, 2020.
At the virtual launch of the mobile application in Abuja, Pantami, said it was part of the government’s key initiatives aimed at empowering innovators and entrepreneurs with the requisite skills to thrive in an emerging digital economy.
He explained that the Digital Nigeria programme was a key component of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria which was being championed by himself.
Pantami said the ministry was partnering with global institutions including the African Development Bank (AFDB) and Microsoft to enable Nigerians to acquire cutting edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.
The Minister, however, reiterated the government’s resolve to promote skills over paper qualifications.
“We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
“Degrees are only meant to validate skills, this is a growing trend across the globe.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy.
“It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens. The “Digital Nigeria” mobile app is available on play store and apple store, enabling Nigerians to enrol in ICT courses within the comfort of their homes,” he said.
Pantami said that much of the content was provided through AfDB’s partnership with Microsoft, adding that students can download certificates after completing the courses.
According to him, across the globe, there is a growing focus on the need for developing skills, rather than merely acquiring degrees.
“To this end, Nigerians are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity by enroling today at https://digitalnigeria.gov.ng; or https://academy.nitda.gov.ng/ accordingly.
“The portals will give details on how to register and how to download the relevant Mobile Apps.
“The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to developing the capacity of Nigerians to use technology to solve problems.
“We will keep updating the course offerings to reflect global trends. The Digital Nigeria Programme will provide a platform to empower Nigerians to develop relevant skills and build innovative solutions to address challenges within,” Pantami said.
Some of those present at the launch included Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, managing director of the Galaxy Backbone (GBB).
Digital Explorers Launch Paid Traineeship in Lithuania for Nigerian Female Data Analysts
Digital Explorers has launched applications for the second cohort of the program. This time, it is a female-only track that will select up to 15 female Data Analysts and Data Scientists at entry-level who will undergo up to 6 months paid traineeship in Lithuania. The program will consist of an intensive training and a placement at a Lithuanian company.
Digital Explorers launched in 2019, selecting 15 Nigerian ICT specialists, from a pool of 1,400 young talents. The first cohort of 15 digital explorers have spent a year in Lithuania, working, learning, and networking. They are now wrapping up their 1 – year career advancement journey and transitioning to full-time, more permanent employment.
For the next cohort, Digital Explorers is partnering with Data Science Nigeria to identify and select Data Analysts/Scientists for its 2020 Virtual Bootcamp (to commence on 20th October, 2020).
The objective of this cohort is to support women in tech and contribute to closing the global tech gender gap by offering tailored data analysis / data science traineeships to selected participants.
Interested Nigerian entry-level female data analysts/scientists are required to register for the DSN Hackathon through this link – bit.ly/AIBootcamp20_hack in order to make it into the Virtual Bootcamp.
This also gives an opportunity for Nigerian Companies with existing female entry level data scientists and analysts to encourage their staff to apply.
Participants will receive tailored training, international exposure and return after 6 months better equipped to contribute to the success of the organization. Application for the DSN Hackathon closes on October 3rd, 2020.
The training participants will receive will be tailored to meet market demands in Lithuania and Nigeria. At the end of the programme, participants will be further assisted in finding the right employment opportunities in Nigeria.
Nigerian companies interested in hiring data analysts and data scientists in the future can partner by registering here to recruit participants who successfully complete the programme on their return from Nigeria.
In his vision essay about this program, Kola Aina – Founder of Ventures Platform says this project is “about upskilling the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs and knowledge workers with global networks and connections.
“Our ‘Digital Explorers’ will be working side by side with amazing people on world class teams, building products and services for global clients, and spending a lot of time in structured learning and networking activities… Looked at from a certain perspective, the people who make it into the Digital Explorers programme are effectively being paid to learn and acquire world class skills.”
Speaking on the launch of the second track of the Digital Explorers program, Eugenija Kovaliova, Co-founder of AfriKo says, “Lithuanian ICT sector has been maturing significantly over the past decades and this has been recognized by many international tech companies, hiring Lithuanian specialists to work on complex projects.
“At Digital Explorers we want to open up an opportunity for Nigerian talents to work alongside Lithuania’s best and bring back acquired skills and knowledge for a stronger Nigerian digital landscape.”
Mimshach Obioha, the Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation, added, “The choice to focus on Data Analysts and Data Scientists is fueled by the growing global demand across different industries for jobs such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists or Data Scientists.”
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