- NCC Hikes International Termination Rate by 525%
THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has increased International Termination Rate (ITR) from N3.90 per minute to N24.40 per minute, a 525 per cent increase.
ITR is an interconnection charge set by mobile traffic carriers on calls originating from other networks. Though the regulator did not give reasons for the hike, the notice it issued, dated October 5, reads: “The Nigerian Communications Commission, on September 16, 2016 reviewed the termination rate for international inbound traffic from N3.90/min (about $0.013 today) to N24.40/min. The interim rate will subsist pending the conclusion of the study of the Determination of Cost Based Pricing for Mobile Voice Termination Rates.”
The over 525 per cent increase in the ITR could be traced to a recommendation in an analysis prepared by its Policy, Competition & Economic Analysis Department last year.
In an assessment of international voice traffic termination rates, NCC noted that while regulatory authorities tend to protect service providers and consumers, telcos and the government would prefer higher rates that bring in hard currency and can fund investment, expand domestic network, fund innovation and improve quality of service (QoS).
It also notes that revenues from international calls are seen as means of cross-subsidising domestic calls. This is tagged to a symmetrical system that shows money flows from developed to developing countries as most traffic originates from rich countries and high settlement rates favour the recipient countries.
Based on the assessment, NCC stated: “In comparison with other African countries ITR, Nigeria termination rate at $0.03 relatively too low and this will likely impact negatively on the inflow of revenue to the Nigerian economy.
“Consistent with the above, we recommend that upward reviews of international termination rate should be settled through negotiation and commercial agreement between the domestic service providers and international traffic carriers provided that the rate would not lead to decrease in inbound traffic to the country.”
Citing the case of Ghana’s termination rate increase in 2009 from $0.10 to $0.19/min which it says was problematic and Uganda’s enactment of a legislation in 2013 imposing a tax of $0.09 on inbound international calls that substantially increases ITR, NCC compares outcomes of termination rates with other 53 African countries to indicate that only South Africa shares the same ITR with Nigeria. Others range from $0.09 (Egypt) to as high as $0.70 (Gambia).
The reviewed ITR increase could seem to be NCC’s response to the telecom industry which has been feeling the pinch of its current economic woes of late, according to ITWeb Africa.
After industry experts decried harsh operating environment which has cost telecom companies about N660 billion this year, NCC says it will work on strategies including revised/updated Nigerian Telecom Policy, spectrum availability and other national resources, to yield gross domestic product (GDP) growth and create business/investment opportunities in the country.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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