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6,000MW Needed to Reduce Power Outages in Nigeria

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NIGERIANS may have inadequate power supply for a long time as Sam Amadi, the out-going Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said that 6,000 megawatts of regular supply of electricity is needed before power outages can be significantly reduced in the country.

Amadi, who was speaking during a public hearing on the activities of NERC and Distribution Companies, Discos, as they relate to infrastructure and billing by the House of Representatives Committee on Power, also said that 55 percent of consumers remain un-metered. He attributed this to legacy issues which have resulted in consumers being charged through estimated billing.

Amadi lamented that the cloning of meters and bypassing of meters remain a major challenge particularly in some parts of the country and this results in loss of revenue for Discos. Responding to reports that the regulatory body is soft on Discos for infractions and inefficiencies particularly in metering, Amadi agreed, but however noted that the agency is not quick to wield the big stick in order to build investors confidence in the sector. He also attributed it to the fact that the Discos are still experiencing several challenges.

“It is in the interest of consumers that we help Discos and generating companies to survive, but from the beginning of this year, we have been penalising. Recently, we asked Abuja Disco to pay N18 million to the family of a child who was electrocuted, and they did that,” he said.

Amadi added that Abuja Disco was also mandated to compensate 32,000 consumers with about N50 million due to over-billing. He explained further that the Discos are experiencing several challenges. “You talk about tariff, but what about gas? The telecommunications industry has the advantage of technological innovations. Electricity is a conservative technology, we cannot do without gas, even if we build solar everywhere,” he said, adding that the discos have to deal with weak infrastructure.

Also speaking at the public hearing, Mark Karst, managing director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, said the company is targeting 20,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2020 and would need $1 billion annually to achieve the target. He noted that the money required is a huge sum.

Karst put the current power generation at 4,800 megawatts, with potential for 5,400 and 6,000 in a very short time if certain adjustments are made. He disclosed that the tariff application of TCN with NERC has been pending since the middle of 2014. “Transitional electricity market declared in February 2015 has not been effective,” he said, adding that the power sector remains a difficult field to navigate for all players involved.

Igariwey Enwo, member of the committee, however, challenged that NERC has being soft on Discos which resulted in them not being keen on metering, and campaigning for the switch to smart meters. “No individual in my state, Ebonyi, has a single pre-paid meter. Many people there have never even seen what it looks like…you have to make it mandatory for them to go ahead with the metering,” he said,

The lawmakers raised several challenges which consumers continue to experience, such as mass disconnection, paying for transformers, cables and even labour to get electricity and exploitation through estimated billing.

Daniel Asuquo, chairman, House Committee on Power, said the committee takes the issue of local content seriously, and Nigerians must be given right of first refusal. He also lamented that the TCN wholly owned by the government, is being owed by the discos despite the N213 billion loans granted to them by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Vanguard

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Fintech Companies Raised $554 Million in Investment Last Week

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Financial Technology Firms Raised $554 Million Investment Capital Last Week

Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised a combined $554.17 million from investment rounds last week.

A data compiled by Finbold showed the top 25 fintech firms were led by Razorpay and Wealthsimple.

Razorpay, a payment platform, raised $100 million to account for 18.04 percent of the total amount raised during the week. This was followed by Wealthsimple’s $87 million.

Deepwatch came third with $53 million while NYDIG and M1 Finance came fourth and fifth with $50 million and $45 million, respectively.

Other noteable fintechs include Extend $40 million; FOSSA $30.55 million; +Simple $23.75 million; Finexio $23 million; and Sonrai Security $20 million.

On the other hand, Evolve Credit was the last among the 25 companies. It raised $0.025 million while Upside Saving raised the second least fund at $0.42 million. Also, they were the two firms that raised below $1 million in the week under review.

Oliver Scott, a Finbold editor, who spoke on funding in the fintech sector, said “Notably, venture capital is still the primary source of funding for fintech startups. However, new trends indicate a high level of private equity and debt financing. Additionally, more funding activity is concentrated around later funding rounds. The sector is also witnessing a rise in IPOs and acquisitions. Such trends are pointing to a maturing market.”

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Snapchat Adds 39 Million Daily Active Users YoY Representing 18% Growth

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Snapchat Daily Users Increase by 39 Million YoY, a 18 Percent Increase

Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that Snapchat daily active users have grown by 39 million on a Year-Over- Year basis. The addition represents a growth of 18.57%.

Pandemic spurs Snapchat’s DAU growth

During Q3 2019 the daily active users stood at 210 million while the figure was 249 million as of Q3 2020. Between Q3 2018 and Q3 2020 Snapchat’s daily active users have grown by 33.87%.

After witnessing a rise in daily active users the numer slumped between Q1 2018 and Q4 2018 with a percentage drop of 2.61%.

The research also overviewed Snapchat’s number of daily active users based on regions. As of Q3 2020, North America recorded the highest number at 90 million, a growth of about 7% from a similar period last year.

Commenting on the recent surge in Snapchat’s daily active users, Buy Shares researcher Justinas Baltrusaitis said:

After taking a dip in users around 2018 Snapchat began witnessing a steady rise from the end of last year. The platform’s 2020 numbers have been boosted by the coronavirus pandemic.During the health crisis, most people were confined to their homes and turned to social platforms like Snapchat for entertainment.”

Europe has 72 million active daily users as of Q3 2020, a growth of 10% from Q3 2019. Elsewhere during Q3, 2020 the rest of the world had 87 million daily active users.

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UK Imposed €132.7 Million of GDPR Fines, more than Germany and Italy Combined

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UK Imposed €132.7 Million of GDPR Fines, more than Germany and Italy Combined

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continues causing hefty fines and penalties for businesses and organizations across European countries even two years after coming into force.

According to data presented by Buy Shares, the United Kingdom tops the list of the most expensive data breach penalties with €132.7 million in total value of GDPR fines, more than German and Italy combined.

Cumulative Value of GDPR Fines Hit €344 Million, a €119 Million Increase in 2020

The primary reason for such a high cumulative value of GDPR fines in the United Kingdom is the data breach penalty imposed by the UK’s data protection authority, ICO, to Marriott International. In November 2018, the American multinational company was fined with €110.4 million after reporting a cyber incident that exposed nearly 340 million guest records.

Last week, the ICO fined British Airways €22 million for failing to protect the personal and financial details of more than 400,000 of its customers, the second-largest GDPR fine in the United Kingdom. The penalty is considerably smaller than the €204.6 million that the ICO initially said it intended to issue back in 2019 after the Magecart group used card skimming to collect the personal and payment information of British Airways` customers.

Far below the United Kingdom, Germany ranked as the second-leading country in Europe with €61.6 million in the cumulative value of GDPR fines, revealed the GDPR Enforcement Tracker data. On October 1st, 2020, H&M Hennes & Mauritz Online Shop was fined with €35.2 million for the insufficient legal basis for data processing, the severest GDPR penalty in the country.

Italian data protection authority (Garante) imposed €57.3 million worth of GDPR fines so far, ranking in third place among European countries. On January 15th, 2020, telecommunications operator TIM was fined €27.8 million for unlawful data processing, non-compliant aggressive marketing strategy, and invalid collection of consents, the steepest penalty in Italy.

France ranked fourth among the European countries with €51.3 million worth of GDPR fines. Austria, Sweden, and Spain follow, with, €18 million, €7million, and €3.9 million, respectively.

Statistics indicate the cumulative value of GDPR fines and penalties hit over €344 million in October, with almost €119 million worth of new fines imposed in 2020.

Top Five GDPR Penalties Account for 70% of Cumulative Fine Value

Behind Marriott’s €110.4 million worth GDPR fine, Google holds second place on the list of the highest data breach penalties. The US tech giant was fined €50 million by France’s data protection regulator, CNIL, for not providing enough information to users about its data consent policies and control in using their data.

H&M Hennes & Mauritz Online Shop ranked third on this list with €35.2 million worth GDPR fine. Italian telecommunications operator TIM and British Airways round the top five list with €27.8 million and €22 million, respectively.

Statistics show the five biggest data breach penalties cost more than €245 million, or 70% of cumulative GDPR fine value.

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