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New Generation Consortium Needs $4.5Bn to Rejig Nitel

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New Generation Telecommunications Consortium, the preferred bidder for the purchase of a controlling stake in Nitel/Mtel may have won the first phase of the battle for what is left of the beleaguered national carrier, but the enormous financial weight needed to rejig the carrier may prove fiercer, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
In the short to medium terms, New Generations Telecom requires at least $4.5 billion to bring the first national operator to the level of competitions in the market and in the present very tough global financial market, the amount is staggering.
Apart from the $2.5 billion bid price for Nitel, the investors must source at least additional $2 billion to fast track the market re-entry of the national carrier and bring the carrier to the level of competitions like MTN, Glo, and Zain.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the fear is that after spending about $4.5 billion, the investors may not expect any return on investment at least in the next 10 years because the market is nearing saturation.
An official of the consortium who spoke on the condition of anonymity asked  “don’t you think we have studied the market and worked out the business module that suits the national carrier before we put our best foot forward?”
The official said the consortium is bent on breaking the jinx and myth that surround successive failed attempts to sell government stake in the now comatose Nitel.
According to him, most of the funds will be sourced offshore. “We are not looking for local financing, Minerva Group; you will recall is our main financial backer. Money is not more important as financial and technical know-how,” the official added.
Expressing readiness of the group to pay, the official, said “if the National Council on Privatization (NCP) approves, today, we will hand BPE our draft in tomorrow.”
Chigbo Anichebe, spokesman for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) confirmed that NCP, the final okaying authority is yet to sit to approve the transaction.
He told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that when the NCP approves the sale, the preferred bidder will be given 10 days to pay 30 per cent of the $2.5 billion (amounting to some $750 million) while the remaining 70 per cent must be paid within 60 days.
Meanwhile, the preferred bidder is rumoured to have string of suitors with deep wallets as well as technical and managerial expertise eager to turn around the fortunes of the national carrier.
They are eyeing Nitel’s tremendous goodwill, frequency, Sat-3 and landed properties.
An inside source said “that way, we hope to use the avalanche of cash that will available to restart the network. The truth is that the $2.5 billion by New Generation Consortium is unnerving.”
According to the BPE, New Generation Consortium’s $2.5 billion was followed by Omen International’s $956 million. Others are Brymedia Consortium $551 million and AFZ/Spectrum consortium $375.5 million and MTN which bidded for only SAT-3 and offered $25 million.
According to the source, negotiations among the parties have been characterized by hard bargaining and shrewd exchanges.
It would be recalled that New Generation Consortium etched its name in the record books after it emerged the preferred bidder for Nitel. It was a landmark privatization deal in any developing country outside the oil and gas sector.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the New Generation Telecom Consortium involved is made up of GiCell, local telco, China Unicom (Europe) and Minerva. Others are Sumatra Star GT Limited, Unified Access Licencee, and BGL Private Equity Limited, a subsidiary of BGL Plc.
GiCell Wireless on the other hand is jointly owned by GIC Nigeria Limited and Usman Ahmed Gumi, proprietor of G-Cell Nigeria Limited which is a rural telephony operator.
While GIC Nigeria Limited owned two-thirds equity, Gumi owned the balance one third of GiCell.
GIC Nigeria Limited with share capitalization of N500, 000 and located on Cemetery Road, Onitsha, Anambra State is owned by Ifeanyi Chima (N400, 000 shares) and Ikeme Chima (N25, 000). They are both directors of the company with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Company Registration number RC 207962.

 


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.

Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.

Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.

“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.

“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”

Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.

“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.

Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.

On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.

“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.

“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).

“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.

Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.

He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”

He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.

Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.

“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.

The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.


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UNWTO, Google Host First Tourism Acceleration Program in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected tourism, a sector that accounts for millions of jobs around the globe.

 

While no one can say with certainty when the sector will recover, people are starting to dream of getaways again – whether closer to home or to remote destinations.

 

As more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitisation of the tourism sector will be key to helping it adapt and recover.

 

This is why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have partnered to create and host an online Acceleration Program for UNWTO Member States’ tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards to further develop innovation and digital transformation skills.

 

Today, ahead of World Tourism Day, the organisations hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Program focused on insights from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

 

Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9% of global trade for Africa and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly. Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make up 54% of the workforce.

 

Natalia Bayona, UNWTO director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments, said “UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger,”

 

“With the right policies, training and management in place, innovation and technology have the potential to foster new and better jobs and business opportunities for tourism in Africa while improving the overall wellbeing and prosperity of the region”.

 

Africa is home to 30% of the world’s population, adding hundreds of millions of new online users every year.

 

Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel.

 

Doron Avni, Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets, said “We’re here to help the tourism sector recover from this unprecedented crisis and emerge stronger.

 

“Our travel data insights and tools can help tourism authorities identify and understand the barriers and drivers to visit travel destinations for better tourism planning.”

 

Below are some of the Nigeria travel data insights shared with participants in today’s session:

Nigeria

Since Nigeria announced its intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29th, search interest for travel has grown.

This slowdown presents an opportunity to rethink tourism, innovate and further develop the digital transformation of the sector so it can build the foundations for future sustainable growth.

 


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MultiChoice in collaboration with Celestial Tiger Entertainment Launches KIX on DStv

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Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), the operator of the largest bouquet of pan-Asian channels dedicated to Asian entertainment, and MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment company, has launched action movie channel KIX, on DStv.

KIX will launch on Premium, Compact Plus and Compact packages in Nigeria from 1st October 2020 at 6:00 pm WAT.

The launch of KIX marks CTE’s first foray into Africa.

Ofanny Choi, president of Celestial Tiger Entertainment, said, “We are very excited to be launching KIX on DStv in Africa with MultiChoice.

“Asian action entertainment has always resonated well with the audience worldwide, and we are proud to work with MultiChoice to bring this popular genre to viewers in Africa.

“With KIX’s proven success in Asia, we are confident we can deliver the best of action movies to our African audience.”

John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, said, “We at MultiChoice are delighted to announce the launch of this brand-new channel KIX, a channel that will expand our viewers content slate, giving them more variety and entertainment.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and new collaborations such as this, help us expand their viewing experience”.

Action fans can enjoy a high-octane blend of martial arts, action and thriller movies from the East and West on KIX, all presented in English.

Apart from the latest star-studded blockbuster premieres, KIX will also showcase never-seen-before movies from the various action genres, including kung fu classics from the legendary Shaw Brothers library, action comedies, adventure and fantasy action franchises, and action thrillers.

While fans of Asian action movies will see the legendary Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Bruce Lee in action, KIX also aims to present and delight viewers with movies featuring all other Asian action stars.

With all genres of action movies spanning from the 1960s to the present day, KIX is a one-stop-shop for all action movies entertainment throughout the years, with something for everyone. Viewers can now watch KIX and its catch-up programming anytime, anywhere, on DStv and DStv App!

 

 


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