- Poorer Telecoms Services Loom Over Non-access to Forex
Difficulties in accessing foreign exchange to import the equipment needed to expand infrastructure may worsen data and voice telecommunications service delivery for the rest of this year, our correspondent learnt on Friday.
According to the latest monthly industry data from the Nigerian Communications Commission, there are currently over 153.9 million active voice subscribers in the country and over 93 million data subscribers.
Some of the operators told said that they were facing a major setback in implementing their infrastructure expansion plan this year.
The operators stated that except the Federal Government put telecoms on the list of preferred sectors to have seamless access to foreign exchange, “subscribers will have difficulties accessing voice and data services.”
Speaking on behalf of the operators, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said that the government’s policy on forex adversely affected the firms in expanding their networks in 2016.
He said not acceding to the request in 2017 meant that the industry would continue to experience a setback.
Teniola said, “In terms of how we performed last year in the area of telecoms infrastructure rollout, the impact of the devaluation of naira has been felt by most telecoms operators.
“We should realise that 99 per cent of telecoms equipment are imported from the United States and Europe, and you need forex to do this. Not having access to forex, therefore, means a debacle to infrastructure expansion.”
He noted that there were no legal ways of working around the foreign exchange issue.
“Until the government allows telecommunications equipment to be on the preferred list of items that can access cheaper dollars, it is hard to see where further growth will come from in 2017,” the ATCON president said.
Teniola argued that without expansion of networks or increase in capacity upgrades, the networks would not be able to sustain the quality of service or even improve on it, and revenue would stagnate or decline.
“Again, the government needs to show strong leadership on this critical issue,” he added.
The ATCON president noted that despite being a $68bn sector, there appeared to be a lull in telecoms investments and general infrastructure expansion among operators last year.
He, however, said the reason for the lull was simple. “The uncertainty in the naira to US dollar exchange rate has led to anxiety within the investment community and this has also meant that foreign direct investments needed to fund network expansion and capacity upgrades under our members’ capital expenditure programmes have had to be put on hold.
“We need the government to see that an enabling environment with clarity in policy formulation and execution that leads to transparency will encourage investors, both domestic and foreign, to bring funds to drive this expansion.
“Government needs to remove the fear, uncertainty and doubt that are prevailing in the economy in 2017, or there will be further contraction in the economy irrespective of crude oil prices on the global market.”
Teniola said that the over 153.9 million subscribers in the country might witness debilitating quality of service this year due to the inability of the operators to import the necessary equipment as a result of the forex issue to roll out more infrastructural facilities across the country.
Jumia Nigeria Appoints Sunil Natraj as CEO, Outlines Ambitious Expansion Plans
Former Jumia Ghana CEO to Lead E-Commerce Giant as Massimiliano Spalazzi Steps Down
Jumia Nigeria, a prominent player in the e-commerce sector, has announced the appointment of Sunil Natraj as its new CEO.
Natraj, the former CEO of Jumia Ghana, will take the helm of the e-commerce business in January 2024, succeeding Massimiliano Spalazzi, who has been with Jumia Group for 11 years and will be stepping down in December 2023.
The announcement came during a media parley held in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, with Francis Dufay, the CEO of Jumia Group, unveiling Natraj as the new leader.
Natraj expressed Jumia’s commitment to becoming a truly Nigerian company and continuing the initiatives started by Spalazzi.
“We want to continue what Spalazzi started,” Natraj stated, emphasizing Jumia’s vision to expand its presence beyond Lagos.
He disclosed plans to extend operations to additional Nigerian cities, with Akure and Ilorin on the radar and a focus on cities en route to Ibadan, Warri, and Benin in the first quarter of 2024.
The overarching strategy is to create a comprehensive network covering the entire country.
Dufay outlined the ambitious goal of targeting cities with populations exceeding 20,000 people, citing successful precedents in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by Jumia, including a workforce reduction in Q4 2022 and a 73% cut in advertising budgets in Q3 2023.
Despite the hurdles, Dufay highlighted Nigeria as Jumia’s largest market and affirmed the company’s determination to navigate and thrive in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.
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Flutterwave Expands Financial Frontier: Acquires Money Transfer Licenses for 13 U.S. States
Africa’s Leading Payments Tech Firm Facilitates Faster, Affordable, and Secure Transfers between the U.S. and Africa
In a significant move towards advancing financial connectivity between Africa and the United States, Flutterwave, Africa’s premier payments technology company, has proudly announced its acquisition of money transfer licenses for 13 key U.S. states.
This strategic expansion aims to expedite, streamline, and secure the transfer of money from the U.S. to Africa and back.
The states covered by the newly acquired licenses include Arizona, Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
These additions, combined with Flutterwave’s existing partnerships and licenses, now empower the company to serve customers seamlessly across 29 states in the U.S.
Money transfer licenses, issued by state regulators, play a pivotal role in enabling financial technology companies like Flutterwave to engage in the transmission of money.
The acquisition of these licenses fortifies Flutterwave’s commitment to regulatory compliance, safety, and the soundness of its services.
Stephen Cheng, Executive Vice President, Global Expansion and Partnerships at Flutterwave, emphasized the significance of this milestone.
“Getting these licenses expands our regulatory footprint, demonstrates our ability to deliver services with safety and soundness, and fosters trust among regulators, partners, and customers,” stated Cheng.
“We’re growing and are committed to servicing customer needs in as many geographies as possible, particularly with a significant African diaspora.”
Flutterwave’s popular solutions, such as the Send App, are set to benefit greatly from this expansion.
The Send App facilitates easy and secure money transfers between the U.S. and Africa, catering to both individual users and enterprises that rely on Flutterwave for global last-mile payouts.
“Sending money between the U.S. and Africa has been challenging for the African diaspora. These licenses pave the way for Flutterwave to make the Send App available to the African diaspora in the U.S., offering a super user-friendly money remittance experience,” explained Olugbenga Agboola, Founder and CEO at Flutterwave.
“Our mission is to connect Africa to the world and the world to Africa by simplifying payments for endless possibilities. These licenses move us one step closer to our vision, and we will continue to expand this feat to ensure coverage for all states in the U.S. and beyond.”
Flutterwave remains steadfast in its commitment to providing accessible remittance services across the U.S. and has outlined plans for further expansion of licensing coverage in the near future.
This ambitious endeavor reflects the company’s dedication to fostering financial inclusion and creating a seamless financial bridge between continents.
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