- Etisalat Nigeria Changes Name to 9Mobile
Etisalat Nigeria on Thursday changed its brand name to 9Mobile.
The change of name, it was gathered, was approved at a management meeting, with the public relations consultant to the telco, Chain Reactions, confirming the development.
Chain Reactions, promised to send in an official statement to that effect but had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.
“9Mobile was unanimously adopted by the company as its new brand name,” an insider in Etisalat Nigeria said.
The Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Etisalat Nigeria, Ibrahim Dikko, had earlier this week dropped a hint as to what the new name of the company could be. He recalled that at the launch of the company in Nigeria in 2008, ‘0809ja’ was adopted to affirm the “Nigerianness” of its origin and the company’s sphere of influence.
However, the Nigeria Communications Commission said that aside changing its brand name to ‘9Mobile’, Etisalat Nigeria must also change its logo and colour.
The commission noted, however, that the telecommunications company had yet to brief it on the change of brand name.
“I am not privy to any letter to that effect, neither is the Nigerian Communications Commission,” the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, said.
“However, brand change involves a lot of processes. The company will need a new logo, colour and even have to call the subscribers to a forum to announce the change of brand name properly. This must be done after they might have informed the regulator,” he added.
Ojobo said the possible adoption of 9Mobile as a new brand name by Etisalat Nigeria might be an internal decision of the telecoms firm to meet the three weeks ultimatum given to it by the parent company in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.
He had earlier said that the telecoms regulator would check the financial health of other operators following Etisalat Nigeria’s default on the repayment of a $1.2bn loan.
“We need to check the books to detect failings on time,” Ojobo said, adding that the law setting up the NCC empowered it to conduct such checks.
He also said that the commission must approve any new investor with over 10 per cent of shares in a telecoms firm.
Etisalat Nigeria’s lenders have taken control of the management of the company and placed the shares in the custody of a loan trustee.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Etisalat Nigeria’s rescue had put the country’s banks in a quandary as they prepare for half-year results due this month, as they did not know whether to provision for loans to the company until they could work out its value.
A banking source said that the lenders first wanted to determine Etisalat Nigeria’s free cash flow to help them value the business before deciding on whether to impair the assets or hold on to find new investors.
“No bank is talking about restructuring now, but it might get to that later once we are able to ascertain the true value of the company,” the source said.
Dangote Cement Refutes Claim it Sells Cement High in Nigeria
Dangote Cement Plc has refuted the widely propagated story that the company sells cement at a significantly higher price in Nigeria compared to other African nations like Zambia and Ghana.
The management of the leading manufacturing company said it sells a bag at N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese, the amounts stated include VAT.
Devakumar Edwin, Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, who spoke with journalists in Lagos, said the company sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes.
Devakumar, therefore, described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, and challenged the media to conduct independent investigation into the price of cement in some other African countries, including Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia.
“To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings.
“We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”
“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.
“Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly.
“We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius.
“We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” Devakumar said.
Samsung, Vision Care Begin Fresh CSR Activities, Earmark 12,000 Masks for Nigeria
Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited (SHIN) and Vision Care, an international relief organization dedicated to the prevention of blindness, have launched fresh Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to help Nigeria mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Vision Care is a member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and participant of ‘VISION 2020’, a global initiative of the IAPB and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vision Care has since conducted more than 25 Vision Eye Camps yearly and has grown into an international non-profit organisation serving 38 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central-South America.
Since 2015, SHIN has worked with Vision Care in the yearly Eye Camp as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to provide free cataract surgeries to Nigerians who cannot afford the payment. SHIN has been sponsoring the eye surgeries of Nigerians on a yearly basis.
In 2019, SHIN sponsored the eye surgeries of at least 115 Nigerian patients and 224 outward patients as part of its CSR in Nigeria.
Since it started the programme, SHIN has sponsored the eye surgeries of 572 Nigerian patients, 1,593 outward patients and has also donated glasses to 99 patients.
Due to outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the yearly Eye Camp for 2021 had been called off to adhere to Federal Government’s measures in response to the virus.
Consequently, SHIN and Vision Care came up with a fresh CSR initiative this year to donate 496 bags of rice (25kg) and 12,000 reusable face masks to three states in the country to fulfill their commitment of contributing to the society.
The items will be delivered later this month.
The three states that will benefit from the donation are Lagos, Kano and Bayelsa states.
Out of the 496 bags of rice, and 12,000 facemasks, Lagos will receive 96 bags of rice and 200 masks.
SHIN also stated that Kano State will receive 200 bags of rice and 5,000 masks, while Bayelsa State will get 200 bags and 5,000 masks.
“This is an additional CSR activity from SHI in addition to SHIN’s donation of 5,000 COVID-19 test kits from Korea. The washable masks that the head office has purchased from Korea are certified to retain its effectiveness against COVID-19 transmission for up to 50 washes,” SHIN said in a statement.
Senate Summons NICON, AIICO, Others Over N17.4bn Pension Remittances
The Senate Public Accounts Committee has summoned the management of the NICON Insurance Plc, AIICO Insurance and other insurance companies over their alleged failure to remit N17.4bn pension fund to the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate.
The Senate hinged the summon on the 2016 report of the Auditor-General for the Federation which unraveled the alleged non-remittance of N17.4bn pension fund to PTAD.
Appearing before the panel on Monday, the Executive Secretary of PTAD, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, informed the lawmakers that PTAD took over the assets and liabilities of the defunct pension offices without a formal handing over.
She said, “On taking over, the directorate wrote all underwriters to make returns and remit whatever amount that was in their custody into a CBN dedicated account.
“Some of the underwriters responded to the request while some did not.
“The bank certificate of balances, accounting statements, three years financial statements and policy files requested by the federal auditor were not handed over to PTAD at the time of consolidation.
“It is worthy to note that we discovered that N17.4bn which comprised of cash, securities and properties from the nine insurance underwriters was unremitted as a result of the letter PTAD sent to them.
“These figures represent the claims by the underwriters with regards to their indebtedness.
“In order to ascertain the true position of legacy funds in custody of underwriters, the directorate appointed a consultant in 2018 who carried out forensic audit of nine out the 12 insurance underwriters and produced a final report on the recovery of the legacy funds and assets for PTAD.”
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