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Senate to Probe MTN Over $12bn Capital Flight

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For allegedly repatriating $12bn dollar to its parent company in South Africa over a 10-year period, the Senate on Thursday ordered the investigation of MTN Nigeria.

The decision to probe the telecommunications firm followed a montion moved by Senator Dino Melaye, who raised a point of order to make the allegation.

He said, “My respected colleagues, MTN Nigeria paid a sum of $284.9m on the 6th of February, 2001 to purchase their licence of operations in this country. Between 2006 and 2016, through four Nigerian banks and a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, MTN moved over $12bn out of Nigeria.

“That is about half of our external reserves. If I get the nod of the Senate, I will want to bring a substantive motion on the next legislative day with substantiated facts to buttress this position.”

The Senate subsequently asked Melaye to present documents at the next legislative sitting as evidence of the repatriation of the funds.

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Smile Launched 4G Enabled Dual-Sim Smartphone

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Smile Launches 4G  Enabled Dual-Sim Smartphone

Smile Communications introduced its first dual-SIM and Voice over 4G LTE-enable Smartphone that gives fast and easy access to 4G network.

The SmileVoLTE dual-SIM and 4G LTE enabled smartphone was Google approved and manufactured in partnership with Mediatek. It has been pre-loaded with applications like the SmileVoice App, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype, Instagram, YouTube, Music and FM radios and includes features for security like fingerprint and face recognition.

The smartphone has 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM, 1.3 Ghz Dual core, 5.45” HD touchscreen, 2950mAH battery, 5MP front camera and 8MP back camera.

The SmileVoLTE smartphone is bundled with 30 days Always-ON internet access, unlimited on-net calls, unlimited on-net SMS, 100 local call minutes, and 50 local SMSs.

The Chief Marketing Officer of Smile Nigeria, Abdul Hafeez while speaking on the product, said that Smile was glad to make another impressive device in the rapid growing Nigerian market.

We are making available to customers one of the best VoLTE Smartphones in the market with 4G LTE capabilities and Always-On internet access for non-stop 30-day internet connection. The market is moving much faster in the broadband direction and we want Nigerians to enjoy the best that broadband can offer hence the introduction of this new SmileVoLTE Smartphone,” he said.

He also added that “with the launch of the SmileVoLTE smartphone our customers are assured of a quality product that will beat the existing benchmark in the Nigerian market.

Hafeez assured customers that the new SmileVoLTE Smartphone would be very beneficial to them in many ways.

The new SmileVoLTE smartphone can be purchased in Smile shops in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin City, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba.

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MTN Moves to Sell Jumia Stake Despite Jumia Stock Rising 300%

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MTN Plans to Sell Jumia Stake

MTN Group is presently perfecting plans to sell part or its entire stake estimated at $243 million (R4.1bn) in Jumia Technologies despite Jumia shares rising by over 300 percent in the last three months.

According to the people familiar with the deal, MTN is selling its interest in Jumia to pay off its debts and expand into new markets.

It would be recalled that when Investors King first reported MTN’s plan to sell its 19 percent stake in Jumia in May 2019 shortly after Jumia listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the 19 percent was valued at $655 million.

However, fraud attacks from Citron Research, a controversial American Research firm, plunged Jumia value to as low as $2.33 per share, down from about $40 per share it traded in April 2019.

Jumia has now gained about 300 percent in the last three months due to speculations that the e-commerce company would have recorded substantial sales during COVID-19 lockdown like its global counterparts.

The parties involved in the sale have not made a final decision, according to a Bloomberg report that quoted people familiar with the deal.

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NCC Removes USSD Pricing Cap, Says MNOs, Banks Should Negotiate

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NCC Says MNOs, Banks Should Negotiate USSD Rate

The Nigerian Communications Commission on Wednesday said it has removed the pricing limit set for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, said the commission has amended its directive of July 2019 by removing the price limit placed on USSD to allow MNOs and financial institutions negotiate appropriate pricing structure for the service.

According to him, each USSD session of 20 seconds cost N1.63 per session on the MNO network.

He, therefore, said the cost should form the basis for negotiation between the two parties –MNO and other related USSD service providers.

This was coming after a dispute between MNOs and financial institutions in 2019, with MTN and other MNOs saying they will be charging USSD users directly instead of the free service previously offered to financial institutions providing USSD services.

In the amended determination of August 1, 2020, the NCC said if both parties failed to reach an agreement it would once again step in to determine the right rate for both parties.

However, telecommunications regulators have said the refusal to agree on a succinct rate that works for both parties or negotiate in good faith world result in discontinuation of service provision. Meaning, codes for USSD transactions may be withdrawn or the regulating body will impose sanctions on the entire service.

Telecommunication companies have blamed banks for profiting from their service yet refused to pay for the same service that has helped them expand their operations and reach to the unbanked.

In November 2019, Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said telecommunications companies incurred expenses daily for providing banks USSD services.

He said, “The USSD is a service we are providing for the banks and there is a cost incurred by telecom operators for providing those services.

“The bank has given an erroneous impression to the public that it is a sunk cost and it is not because for the service to be allowed, the cell site must be powered, there must be transmission link available and our systems must interconnect with the systems of the banks. It is a recurring cost other than the initial capital.

Banks, on the other hand, have said an agreement was reached with telecommunications companies on USSD service.

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