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Nigeria Becomes Cash Cow for MTN Group

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MTN Group, Africa’s largest telecoms provider, reported a 27 percent rise in full-year earnings on Wednesday, but also revealed a dip in revenues in its home market South Africa due partly to fierce competition.

The revenue drop meant Nigeria overtook South Africa to become the group’s biggest revenue earner.

Reuters reported that South African revenue shrank by 6.1 percent to 39.7 billion rand ($3.7 billion) while in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, it rose nearly 6 percent to 48.2 billion rand.

MTN, which has operations in nearly two dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, added 279,000 users in South Africa in 2013, compared with 9.3 million new Nigerian customers.

In South Africa, price competition between MTN and its rivals, including Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom’s 8ta has squeezed MTN’s margins.

“Our response to the competitive environment was probably not as effective but we are satisfied that the initiatives (around pricing) that were brought in during the second half have started showing some good results,” Sifiso Dabengwa, chief executive said.

The company is also challenging a South African regulatory decision to reduce the rates it charges competitors to carry calls on its network, arguing smaller operators stand to gain from the decision.

Johannesburg-based MTN said overall revenue rose 12 percent in 2013, underpinned by data revenue, which climbed more than 40 percent to 20.7 billion rand.

Mobile phone operators are reinventing themselves to rely less on telephone calls and pushing customers to use more data, which is seen as having growth potential on a continent where most people lack traditional internet access.

MTN said it was diversifying into e-commerce by forming a partnership with Germany’s Rocket Internet to launch services in Africa and the Middle East.

Dabengwa said e-commerce penetration was still below 1 percent in Africa.

MTN’s diluted headline earnings rose to 1,378 cents per share in the year to end-December, from 1,082 cents a year earlier. Headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items.

MTN had already flagged that earnings would be higher following foreign exchange gains of 1.1 billion rand ($101.96 million). The rand currency lost around 20 percent last year, hit by a sell-off in emerging market assets, and lifting overseas earnings for exporters and internationally focused companies such as MTN.


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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).

 


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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