- Abuja Disco Targets 50% Increase in Revenue
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has said it targets 50 per cent increase in revenue from December when it would have completed its metering of about 3880 Maximum Demand (MD) or Large Power User (LPU) customers under its network.
The Disco disclosed this when the Acting Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Akpotaire launched its LPU metering project at the Abuja Archives and History Bureau.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the installed LPU meter at the Archive Bureau was launched by Akpotaire, the Managing Director of AEDC, Ernest Mupwaya said the project which will take the Disco $1.8 million to implement, will see to its accurate billing and revenue collection from the LPU customers.
Mupwaya explained that the 3880 LPU customers contribute up to 50 per cent of the Disco’s monthly revenue.
“This is a critical segment of improving performance for us because this 3880 number of high power users or MD customers are contributing roughly 50 per cent of our revenue.
“It means that by December 50 per cent of the problem would have been resolved and the benefits that will be derived from this will then be ploughed back to the rest of the customers which we are supposed to meter and are a large number that will take time,” said Mupwaya.
He explained that MD meters will installed at places like military and police barracks, and government buildings where energy theft are usually high for Discos in the country and revenue collections very difficult.
He also noted that they will come with in-built intelligence components to notify the Disco of potential attempts of by-pass or breeches by consumers.
“What you are seeing is just a component of a metering system. There is an intelligence gathering mechanism which allows that from our office we are able to read every customer that have this meter. We are able to see whatever is happening. We are cutting out the human interface that comes with the traditional meters which do not get accurate readings. We are however assured of high level accuracy,” he said.
Mupwaya also spoke on the market’s financial shortages, saying: “The sector has to transform, in other words, we have to reduce losses and become more efficient, that is how we can collect more money and to do this takes longer time unlike the telecom sector where there is virtually no room for credit theft but there is room for that in the power sector.”
He added that: “Overtime when the losses come down, we will have more liquidity in the sector. The bills for the energy we get every month are increasing monthly because for example, the gas supply to power stations is indexed in dollars and movements in the exchange rates means there is a pass-through cost.”
Meanwhile, the Disco has also fired 27 of its employees for various offences relating to both corruption and indiscipline.
An internal memo indicated that the disengaged employees were from different cadres of the company.
It was signed by AEDC’s Director, Corporate Services, Abimbola Odubiyi, and showed that 17 of the affected staff had their appointment terminated while nine others were dismissed for various forms of corrupt practices such as fraud, theft and double employment.
Dated 16th September, 2016, the memo further revealed that some of the affected persons were disengaged on account of disciplinary matters such as persistent absence from duty without permission.
Odubiyi in the internal memo, reminded all employees of the current management’s zero tolerance for all forms of corruption and indiscipline, drawing their attention to chapter three of the company’s rules and regulations which he said was very clear as to what constitutes an infringement on the policy.
United Kingdom Ordered Meta, Formerly Facebook, to Sell Giphy
The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has instructed Meta – formerly known as Facebook – to sell Giphy, the American search engine that allows users search for and share short looping videos which are without sound, that are similar to animated GIF files.
The CMA stated that the merger deal could possibly be harmful to social media users and advertisers in the UK. It also found that the deal would further boost Meta’s already strong market power, as it would limit other platforms’ ability to use Giphy GIFs, which will, in turn, drive more traffic to sites owned by Facebook (WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook).
According to the CMA, Meta’s sites dominated social media usage time up to around 73 percent, and could eventually outperform social media rivals like TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat by leveraging Giphy. The Authority then added that before the merger, Giphy had launched ”innovative advertising services” which brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi which it could possibly have brought to the United Kingdom.
The CMA also stated that at the time the merger was made, Giphy’s advertising services were terminated by Facebook. That move removed a vital part of potential opposition in the market. The CMA was concerned by this move, calling it particularly concerning considering that Facebook is in control of about half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK.
Facebook had acquired Giphy for a reported fee of $400 million, with an aim of integrating the service into Instagram. After a month, the CMA started an investigation into the merger and decided in August that Facebook could hinder social media rivals such as TikTok and Snapchat from tapping into Giphy’s GIFs.
Meta had initially stated that the CMA did not have jurisdiction because Giphy was not operational in the United Kingdom, adding later that Giphy’s paid services were not display advertising by the definition of the CMA.
In October, Meta was fined $70 million by the CMA for breaking some rules related to the deal by failing to report necessary information and changing its chief compliance officer on two different occasions without receiving permission.
Burger King Expands to Nigeria
Burger King, an American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, has opened its very first restaurant in Nigeria to deepen its growing brand, support new job creation and enhance economic productivity in Africa’s largest economy.
The United States Mission in Nigeria has praised the improving commercial ties between Nigeria and the United States as American franchises and branches set up shops in Nigeria. This has in turn created more jobs as well as investment opportunities in the country.
This was said by the US Mission Commercial Counselor, Jennifer Woods during her speech at the opening of the Burger King outlet in Nigeria. Woods underlined the impact which new businesses have on a country’s economy, especially with a popular franchise like Burger King opening in a developing market like Nigeria.
She said that being Africa’s largest economy and a large youth population with a strong connection to the world, American brands must look at Nigeria as a highly critical market. She went ahead to state that while the companies will benefit from the expansion into the country, Nigeria itself will also benefit largely from their presence in the country.
Woods also described the addition of another American-owned franchise (one that emphasizes a culture of excellence) will help to provide job opportunities as the business expands to new parts across the country. She praised the high level of interest by consumers and the passion which they have for the iconic American rapid service restaurant since it began its operations in early November.
The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila congratulated Burger King and all its local partners on the intriguing business deal, explaining it as another signal of the benefits of a close business relationship between the United States and Nigeria. He also stated that Burger King is expected to open hundreds of outlets across the country.
Burger King entered into an alliance with local firm, Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited in order to bring the American brand into the Nigerian market. The Group Managing Director of Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited, Antoine Zammarieh has prior experience bringing United States rapid service restaurants to Nigeria.
Panasonic Confirms Data Breach after Hacker Attack
Japanese tech giant Panasonic has affirmed that the company has been a victim of a data breach after some hackers were able to access the company’s internal network.
In a press release dated November 26, the company stated that its private network was illicitly accessed by a “third party” on November 11, and also stated that some data which was on a company file server had been retrieved during the breach.
However, a spokesperson for Panasonic, Dannea DeLisser stated that the data breach started on June 22, and ended on November 3. She also said that the very first unauthorized access was detected on November 11.
The company which is based in Osaka, Japan provided additional details about the breach. In the press release, the company said that although it is conducting its own investigation into the breach, it is also working with a third-party organization to investigate the data leak. The third party organization is also looking into whether or not the breach included personal information of customers or sensitive information which concerns social infrastructure.
Immediately the unauthorized access was discovered by the company, the incident was reported to the appropriate authorities who went ahead to set up some security countermeasures, which also contained steps to avert external access to the network. The company closed the statement by apologizing for concerns and inconveniences caused by the data breach.
This type of incident is not completely new to Panasonic, as just under a year ago Panasonic India faced a ransomware attack in which hackers leaked about 4 gigabytes of data, including email addresses and financial details.
The data breach also comes at a period when Japanese technology companies are facing waves of cyberattacks. NEC and Mitsubishi Electric were victims of hackers in 2020, and Olympus was also made to suspend operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East after being a victim of a ransomware attack.
The trend of cyberattacks in Japan is likely to reduce public faith in the company, especially since it has been hacked twice since last year.
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