- NCC: Charges, Destruction of Telecoms Facilities, Will Hinder 30% Broadband Penetration
The Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Olabiyi Durojaiye has warned that indiscriminate charges on telecoms operations by various state governments, coupled with the destruction of telecoms facilities, will impede the planned achievement of 30 per cent broadband penetration, unless new measures are taken.
Durojaiye, who spoke during his keynote presentation at the 10th annual NigeriaCom conference, which held recently in Lagos, said other factors that could hinder the achievement of 30 per cent broadband penetration, were multiple taxation/regulation, Right of Way (RoW), arbitrary and indiscriminate charges, vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, poor power supply, among others.
He, however said the NCC would not relent in its efforts to ensure the attainment of 30 per cent broadband penetration by end of the year as enshrined in the National Broadband Plan (NBP).
He said although Nigeria has attained 22 per cent broadband penetration since last year, there were opportunities to achieve and surpass 30 per cent penetration by the end of the year, if all the identified challenges are addressed.
“The commission in its eight-point agenda, recognises the need to facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership with stakeholders in order to achieve the goal of access to all which naturally translates to economic power.
“In this regard the commission is constantly engaging with the National Executive Council (NEC), state governors and local government chairmen, community leaders and relevant agencies to make them understand the long-term benefits of reducing excess charges/levies, allowing unhindered access and deployment of infrastructure in their communities,” Durojaiye said.
“As part of our intervention efforts to create an enabling environment, the Commission engaged the Ogun State government and was able to secure the reduction of ground rent for BTS from N360 million to N120 million in favour of IHS, as well as the unsealing of 47 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) shut down by some government agencies across the country,” the NCC boss added.
The NCC is also working hard to ensure the establishment of a ‘Telecommunications Critical Infrastructure Bill’ which would rank telecoms infrastructure as critical infrastructure, he said.
According to him, “As of now, Nigeria has about 10 terabytes undersea cable telecommunication capacity. The major obstacle has been the ability to deploy fibre infrastructure across the country.
“The need therefore for the licencing of Infrastructure companies (InfraCos) became inevitable. The commission has completed the licensing using the Open Access Model which is non-discriminatory, and which enables infrastructure sharing to bridge the gap and deliver very robust, fast and reliable broadband services in the country.
“This will help to stimulate other sectors of the economy and lead to economic growth.”
The commission, he said, had also established a financial inclusion desk to interface with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders in the digital financial ecosystem to deal with issues of policy and regulation as it affects financial inclusion.
The commission has offered Short Codes to CBN mobile payment service licensees free of charge to improve e-banking services, mobile money, among others, Durojaiye pointed out.
A Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Two residents from the eastern city of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday said they heard a loud blast, but they are yet to know the cause, according to a Reuters report.
Saudi’s Eastern province is home to the kingdom’s largest crude oil production and export facilities of Saudi Aramco.
A blast in any of the facilities in that region could hurt global oil supplies and bolster oil prices above $70 per barrel in the first half of the year.
One of the residents said the explosion took place around 8:30 pm Saudi time while the other resident claimed the time was around 8:00 pm.
However, Saudi authorities are yet to confirm or respond to the story.
Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday
Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.
Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.
While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.
According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.
“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”
Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.
“The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.
“I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.
OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.
Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”
Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.
Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.
Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.
“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”
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