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Nigeria’s .ng Suffers Patronage

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Nigeria Internet Users
  • Nigeria’s .ng Suffers Patronage, as Firms, Others Adopt Foreign Domain Names

Although there appears to be a gradual upward swing in the adoption of Nigeria’s domain name, the .ng, the traffic is still very low compared to the use of other foreign domain names like the .com; .org; .net, and a host of others even within the country. Domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the World Wide Web (WWW) or Internet space.

The continuous patronage of foreign domain names by individuals and businesses in the country has negatively impact the uptake of .ng, resulting in capital flight from the economy. For this reason, countries around the world strive to promote their respective domain system in order to retain substantial part of the Internet expenditure in-country.

Nigeria has close to 100 million Internet users, however, the .ng, Web Technology Surveys revealed, falls within top-level domains that are used by less than 0.1 per cent of the global websites. Companies, including 80 per cent of the about 20 million small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, and individuals still prefer to host their websites on foreign domain platforms. That is, most of the domain names in the country are either foreign or local ones hosted abroad. This has contributed significantly to capital flight from the country yearly.

Although, the Nigeria Internet Registration Agency (NiRA), said it is still working on quantifying the amount the country loses yearly to patronage of foreign domain names, but the country might be losing as much as N900 million yearly.The .ng, like others is a Country’s Code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), which is allocated to a specific country in terms of the DNS tree, by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and is open to having sub-domains below it.

Nigeria’s .ng is administered by the NiRA and funded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The Internet value chain, according to the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Telecommunications Association, has trebled from $1.2 trillion in 2008 to almost $3.5 trillion in 2015, at a compound yearly growth of 16 per cent and projected to hit $5.8 trillion by 2020.

In contrast to Nigeria’s 0.1 per cent usage, the Web Technology Surveys showed that the .com has the highest users with 48.4 per cent of all the global websites, followed at long distance by .ru with 5.1 per cent; .org has 4.7 per cent; and .net 4.6 per cent.jp enjoys 2.4 percent penetration; .uk 2.0 per cent; info 0.9 per cent; .biz 0.4 per cent and South Africa’s .za 0.5 per cent. The President of NiRA, Reverend Sunday Folayan, noted that “It is not necessary that the .ng domain is used exclusively in Nigeria, it can be used outside the country.”

Folayan said the .ng has impacted the economy positively because innovative companies are now using the domain name without any ambiguity.“I am always excited when I visit sites like guardian.ng as other industries like hotel.ng, travels.ng, tours.ng for your businesses. When domain names are properly used in Nigeria, it will boost the economy of the country.

“.ng has existed since 1995, NiRA came in 2005, a span of 10 years. .ng has existed for almost 22 years. There was probably about 100 domain names registered at the end of 1995, but by the close of 2005, a 10 year period, a number of domain names did not exceed 2,000. However, as at December 2016, over 75,000 .ng have been registered and active. NiRA has experienced a cumulative 75 per cent growth year on year as the figure almost doubles the previous year. We hope to sustain the growth. It may look small but, it has been a significant growth based on previous, the 75 per cent is significant and should be noted as improvement.

Folayan further noted that although highly competitive but “domain names are not directly related to population, but the activities. So, there is a tendency to look at 170 million Nigerians and expect 170 million domains but this is not true. Nigerians are on the Internet, but we are a net consumer of information on the Internet. We are not producing as much information as we should be producing on the Internet and without producing information, you can’t have website and content, without website and content, you can’t have domain names.

“Domain names are an accurate reflection of our production of information not our Internet consumption of information. So, if you look at Nigerians with mobile phones, buying SIM is growing significantly because they are going online to consume information, but when you look at the growth of information production, you will see that domain name production far exceeds this growth for Nigeria.”

Reports have it that in 2014, the number of active domains reached 271 million globally. The United States generated $600 million yearly from its domain name, which is part of the potential of the Internet.

According to Google’s yearly income statement, it generated $23.6 billion in 2009, which translated to $1.9 billion dollars a month.Similarly, the .com, .uk, .us, and many other domain names in the western world have made huge profits from their domain names; while some have been sold as high as $13 million.

A former President of NIRA, Mrs. Mary Uduma, in a report said Nigeria’s Internet economy and e-commerce have not started “our Domain Name System (DNS) industry is till at the lowest ebb.”

According to her, Nigerians, especially the private sector operators, needed to connect to the .ng domain to stem capital flight to other countries, whose domain names Nigerians patronise and pay huge sums for.

“Let me give you statistics; if there are 1,000 registered domain names in Nigeria, only 10 will be on .ng, 990 will be on .com and if they all pay N1,000 that is N1 million. While N990, 000 will go abroad, only N10,000 will be in Nigeria; so, we are losing money because people are not taking the .ng as their domain name,” she explained.

To drive traffic to the domain name, the Chief Executive Officer, MainOne Cables, Ms. Funke Opeke, said there is need to see more Nigerians come online, get the services more reliable and improve the local content development.

Opeke submitted that it is necessary to get services, especially government, banking and other major arms of the economy online. “I think the journey has started, we must continue with it.”

To the Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Muhammed Rudman, so many companies, including banks, airlines trading in Nigeria still make use of foreign domain names; resulting in serious capital flight from Nigeria.

“Everyday people in Nigeria are registering .com instead of .ng,” he lamented, adding that the low adoption, could possibly be that the platform is secure, noting that security is not about the domain but the website.According to him, what will channel traffic to .ng remains more enlightenment and awareness of its importance to the economy.

Ayo Odusolu, the Business Development Manager, Skye9, a Nigerian entertainment SME on the .com platform, said, although the firm is proudly Nigerian, it will expand on the .ng platform in the future, adding that for early market penetration, the .com is more like it.

Another SME on .com, whose CEO spoke anonymously, said: “the .com is more recognised globally. How many people use .ng? I think it’s a class thin! Moreover, most people still don’t know much about the Nigerian domain name. I think the handlers need to do more in terms of awareness.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fintech

OPay Urges Customers to Complete BVN, NIN Verification Following CBN Directive

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Opay

OPay, a prominent financial services firm, has called upon its customers to finalize the verification of their accounts by linking their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) or National Identity Numbers (NIN) in accordance with the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN, in a circular dated December 1, mandated all deposit money banks to enforce a ‘Post no Debit’ restriction on accounts lacking BVN or NIN.

Accounts without BVN would be placed under a ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ status from March 1, as outlined in the circular jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi and Haruna Mustapha, Directors at the Payments System Management Department and Financial Policy and Regulation Department, respectively.

OPay affirmed the CBN’s directive and emphasized the necessity for account holders to complete the verification process.

Dauda Gotring, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of OPay, emphasized the importance of a secure and seamless experience for customers.

He encouraged users to comply with the verification process, reassuring them of the company’s commitment to a smooth process and 24/7 customer support.

OPay provided multiple channels for customer assistance, including in-app self-service, WhatsApp, phone lines, and social media platforms.

The company’s commitment to inclusivity and technological advancement underscores its mission to enhance financial services accessibility across Nigeria.

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Telecommunications

MTN Group Ltd. Reports 90% Plunge in Profit Amid Nigeria’s Currency Woes

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MTN

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless service provider, has announced a 90% decline in its full-year profit following the plunge in Nigerian Naira.

The company revealed that its earnings per share for the year ending December fell to a range of 1.07 rand to 3.21 rand (approximately 6 to 17 US cents), a significant drop from 10.71 rand recorded in 2022.

The Nigerian naira, which experienced a 49% depreciation in 2023 and an additional 44% decline this year, has emerged as a significant factor impacting MTN’s financial performance.

As one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar, the naira’s instability has created a volatile economic environment, prompting concerns among international businesses operating in Nigeria.

The currency crisis, stemming from a shortage of dollars and exacerbated by policy missteps and corruption, has led to an exodus of multinational corporations seeking to repatriate earnings from Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria, with its burgeoning young population and growing tech sector, has struggled to address economic dysfunction despite its vast natural resources.

MTN Group Ltd., which boasts approximately 77 million customers in Nigeria, historically derives a substantial portion of its earnings from the country.

However, the company’s shares plummeted by as much as 7.2% in early trading following the profit announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the challenging operating environment.

Despite the bleak financial report, MTN highlighted positive metrics such as a 45% increase in data traffic and a 49% surge in mobile money transaction volumes.

However, the company refrained from providing guidance on its earnings margins, further adding to uncertainties surrounding its future financial performance.

Analysts underscored the importance of regulatory stability and economic reforms in Nigeria to restore investor confidence and mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on companies like MTN.

As businesses navigate the economic landscape, the resilience of Nigeria’s currency and regulatory framework remains a critical concern for investors and industry stakeholders alike.

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Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations

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Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.

In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.

Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.

According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”

Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.

About Leatherback

Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.

For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co

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