- CBN, NCC Intervene in Etisalat, Banks’ Loan Crisis
The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission on Thursday agreed to intervene in the loan issue between Etisalat Nigeria and a consortium of banks.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and a team led by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, reached the decision after a meeting in Abuja.
Our correspondents learnt that the meeting, which held at the CBN headquarters, was convened by the financial regulator at the instance of the NCC to deliberate on how best to stave off the possible takeover of Etisalat by the banks.
“At the end of the meeting, the Central Bank of Nigeria agreed to invite the Etisalat management and the banks to a meeting on Friday (today) towards finding an amicable resolution,” a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said.
Ojobo added, “The NCC, as a regulator of the telecoms industry, had moved quickly to intervene earlier in the week by reaching out to the CBN, having been convinced of the negative impact such a bank takeover will have on the industry.
“The NCC was worried about the fate of the over 20 million Etisalat subscribers and the wrong signals this may send to potential investors in the telecoms industry.”
While the meeting was ongoing, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said that the N541bn loan being owed the banks by Etisalat Nigeria was a symptom of the problems that the telecoms operators had been trying to avoid.
Teniola said, “We can’t have a situation where our member companies and other operators in the ecosystem are voicing out their concern about the harsh operating environment, and in addition to that, we now have an economic challenge, recession.
“We have not come out of it. The current situation is having an acute impact on our operators. I think it is pretty difficult to determine where the future growth of this industry will come from if the forex issue is not resolved.
“Operators may not have the ability to pay for equipment and if we don’t have a government that releases that equipment at the port and grant permit on time, we can be out of networks and you would have delayed the capacity to expand.”
He added, “When the environment is not improving, investment won’t come. The environment needs to be balanced for investments to come. It is very challenging for every operator at this time. Looking at this type of problem, you will beg to ask how we can expand our infrastructure.
“We are appealing to the CBN to help look into the matter and make forex available to our members so that it can be meaningful to them to roll out their networks and sustain their current operations; otherwise, we will see a reversal in the fortunes of this industry.”
Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0
The third edition of MSME Dialogue will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10am (WAT). Experts at the virtual event will provide insights while discussing the theme: Powering MSMEs with Technology and Digital Transformation.
The event, which is organized by MSME Africa, is expected to have owners and managers of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Business owners from different sector in attendance.
MSME Dialogue which holds every quarter, seeks to address, burning and relevant issues about entrepreneurship and running a small business as well as proffering solutions to those issues.
The event aims to provide the right knowledge and know-how for MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, and Startups to enable them to grow and thrive and features subject matter experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and players within the MSME Ecosystem.
The speakers expected at the event are: Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Group, Rex Mafiana: CEO, FPG Technologies, Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence at Sokowatch, Kenya, David Lanre Messan, CEO, FirstFounders, Bisoye Coker, CEO/Co-founder, Kiakia FX. The session will be moderated by Solape Akinpelu: CEO/Founder, HerVest.
According to the convener of the event who is also the founder of MSME Africa, Seye Olurotimi “Every business owner who is serious with their business would agree with me that technology and digital transformation are important factors for business growth and success. We all can’t all run or won Tech startups but we can always drive our businesses and operations with Technology and Digital Tools”
“Tech-driven Businesses are making waves and turning in almost unbelievable results against all odds. Businesses who have embraced technology, automation and digital transformation are enjoying unquantifiable advantages. It is because of this that I am calling on business owners and managers to join us at the 3rd Edition of MSME Dialogue, on Saturday April 24, 2021 at 10am ( WAT), as we bring in experts to provide insights on this theme” Olurotimi added.
MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa providing capacity development, news, opportunities, business articles and other resources for MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups.
Olurotimi said the platform was poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in the nearest future.
Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria
Ericsson announces plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience.
Ericsson Automation Hub is an open innovation platform, inspired by lean startup methodology in which the Ericsson team works in close dialog with customers, users and partners to showcase and reach the high potential that network automation allows in configuration, provisioning, assurance and orchestration of network services.
This will enable service providers to gain the ability in their environments to govern, manage and orchestrate hybrid networks holistically and in real time and as a result, offer an enhanced consumer experience.
Fields to be covered include but not limited to 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, Network Slicing and Orchestration, Hologram Calls, Complex Standalone, Business Support System (BSS) and Operations Support System (OSS), Cloud and Core product cases, Automated Acceptance Tests demonstration and enhancements as well as complex charging scenarios for 5G and 4G networks.
Lucky La Riccia, Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa at Ericsson says: “As Industry 4.0 accelerates in Africa, automation in operations is proven to boost customer experiences. Ericsson continues to support the telecom industry players in setting #AfricaInMotion, and with the Ericsson Automation Hub in Nigeria, we will focus on driving business outcomes for our partners in Africa as they aim to leverage digital transformation to turn complexities into opportunities while offering a greater experience and value to consumers.”
Chevron To Invest In The Offshore Wind Sector
Chevron’s venture capital arm and Moreld Ocean Wind have agreed to invest in Ocergy Inc.’s development and commercialization of floating offshore wind turbines.
The investment by Chevron Technology Ventures is it’s first in offshore wind. The size of the investments wasn’t disclosed. Floating turbines would be useful in ocean areas that are too deep for fixed turbines.
A senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd, Anthony Logan said: “To my knowledge, this is the first investment by a U.S. oil major in offshore wind”
Logan said, floating wind turbines will become important as the U.S. electrical grid increasingly depends on offshore wind power.
“If you can get into those deeper waters, chances are you can build a system of offshore wind production that isn’t vulnerable to low wind or no-wind events.”
The investment will also fund the development of an environmental monitoring buoy that will gather data and support biodiversity, Ocergy said in a news release Tuesday. The company has previously invested in onshore wind. Moreld is owned by HitecVision, a private equity investor that specializes in European renewable energy.
Chevron’s deal with Ocergy doesn’t mark a strategic pivot to renewable energy, but part of a $300 million-a-year plan to invest in early-stage technologies that may play a future role in the energy transition. The company is unwilling to erode returns by investing aggressively in an unfamiliar business where it doesn’t have a competitive advantage and sees oil and gas as its core products for years to come.
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