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Reps Decry Neglect of Rural Telephony Facilities

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Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Rural Development in Ibadan expressed displeasure with the non-functional state of the rural telephony facilities across the country.

The committee led by its Chairman, Hon. Oladipo Adebutu (PDP- Ikenne/Shagamu/Remo North), had visited the rural telephony facilities in Oniyanrin and Isara-Remo in Oyo and Ogun States respectively.

Adebutu said that it was disheartening to see the rural telephony equipment worth $200million lying fallow in different parts of the country in the last 10 years.

“The Federal Government borrowed the sum of $200 million for the first phase of this programme and expended it on the purchase of equipment. Government has repaid the loan with interest.

“For the second phase, Nigeria has committed $35million and awaiting the counterpart funding from China to consummate this programme. It is sad that the project is still lying fallow in the last 10 years.

“Let me inform you that this project apart from its benefit to rural dwellers across the country can generate one million direct jobs.

“The programme still lies moribund. Now we are here to inspect the sites and the equipment available to ultimately find a way forward,’’ he said.

Also on the entourage were Hon. Temitope Olatoye (APC-Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency), Hon. Maren Solomon Maren (Mangu-Bokkos Federal Constituency) and Hon. Akintayo Amere(Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal Constituency).

Solomon, Amere and Olatoye in separate interviews assured Nigerians that the house would ensure every step was taken to make the project a reality.

They all admitted that the project could provide millions of direct jobs and close to four million indirect jobs.

The National Rural Telephony Project (NRTP) was inaugurated in 2001 under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It was, however, suspended by the Federal Government in 2011 due to poor execution.

The first phase of the project was designed to cover 218 of the 774 local government areas of the country and was to provide over 636,256 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) lines in all the council areas in the country.

This was with a view to having access to information communication technology (ICT) in order to bridge the digital divide.

The project was subdivided into three phases and was estimated to cost $200 million.

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had during the committee’s courtesy call on him described the state as very strategic to the rural telephony project.

Ajimobi said 70 percent of the state’s residents were rural dwellers, promising to give necessary support to the actualisation of the project.

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Telecom

MTN Introduces 17-Digit Recharge PIN

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Management of MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of a new 17-digit recharge card Personal Identification Number (PIN).

 

In 2016, the nation’s largest telecommunications company increased the number of its recharge voucher digits from 12 to 16.

 

Two years later, the firm is increasing the digits to 17.

According to MTN Nigeria, the value on the 17-digit recharge cards and the 16-digit recharge vouchers remain the same.

 

However, in its adverts to sensitise its subscribers on the new development, the company did not give reasons for the change.

 

MTN Nigeria is part of the MTN Group, Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications company. On May 16, 2001, MTN became the first GSM network to make a call following the globally lauded Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission earlier in the year. Thereafter the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

 

MTN paid $285m for one of four GSM licenses in Nigeria in January 2001. To date, in excess of $1.8 billion has been invested building mobile telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.

 

Since launch in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across Nigeria. It now provides services in 223 cities and towns, more than 10,000 villages and communities and a growing number of highways across the country, spanning the 36 states of the Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Many of these villages and communities are being connected to the world of telecommunications for the first time ever.

 

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Linda Ikeji, Nigeria Vs Atletico, Royal wedding 2018, Jet Li trend on Google Search

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Linda Ikeji, Nigeria Vs Atletico, Royal wedding 2018, Jet Li were the most sort after items on Google Search Nigeria this week.

 

Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Communications & Public Affairs Manager, West Africa, Google, made this known in a statement released on Wednesday in Lagos.

 

Kola-Ogunlade said that the pregnancy news of Linda Ikeji, Prominent Nigerian blogger, writer, entrepreneur and former model, topped the search list when it broke out.

 

He said that, “the popular blogger revealed she was six-months pregnant by posting photos of her bump to Instagram.

 

“The news of her pregnancy attracted mixed reactions from her fans, with some saying that Linda should have kept to her word on remaining celibate until marriage.

 

“Fans and wellwishers have since taken to Google to search for her pregnancy pictures, making ‘Linda Ikeji’ a top trending term.”

 

According to the Google Manager, Nigeria Vs Atletico Madrid friendly match drew fans attention when Players of the Spanish professional football club, began to arrive in Nigeria on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s friendly game against the Super Eagles.

 

The friendly match which was played at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State had Football fans raced to Google to search for more information about the match.

 

The Royal wedding was another headliner according to Kola-Ogunlade.

 

He said, “In November, Clarence House announced that Prince Harry was engaged to his actress girlfriend, Meghan Markle.

 

“The highly anticipated royal wedding held over the weekend, and millions of viewers tuned in to witness the couple take their vows.

 

“Many of the couple’s celebrity friends were at the wedding, including Oprah Winfrey, David and Victoria Beckham, Serena Williams and her husband, and Meghan’s co-stars from the series Suits.

 

He said that, “Fans of popular Chinese actor, Jet Li have expressed concern for his health after a photo of him looking much older was taken at a temple in Tibet China went viral on Saturday.

 

“The actor’s manager, Steven Chasman said on Monday that although Li had battled hyperthyroidism over the years, it’s nothing life-threatening and the actor is fine.

 

Fans of the actor took to Google to search for pictures, making ‘Jet Li’ a top trending term,” Kola-Ogunlade said.

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Nigerians to Pay More for Calls, Data as Telcos Mull Tariff Hike

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Nigerians may soon begin to pay higher tariffs on calls and data as the telecommunications companies in the country brace up for a new cyber security levy to be implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

 

This is coming on the heels of a directive from the CBN to all banks on the collection of 0.005 per cent levy on all electronic transactions into a National Cyber Security Fund.

 

Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the implementation of the levy is ill-timed, considering the fact that the telecom operators are currently battling with multiple taxation, which has risen from 26 in 2015 to 38 under the current administration

 

But CBN said it is execrsising powers from section 44 of the Cybercrime Prohibition and Prevention Act 2015, that “there shall be paid and credited into the Fund established under subsection (1) of this section and domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria: a levy of 0.005 per cent of all electronic transactions by the businesses specified in the second schedule to this Act.”

 

Businesses affected by this charge include GSM service providers – MTN, Glo, Airtel, 9Mobile etc. and all telecommunication companies; Internet service providers; banks and other financial institutions; insurance companies and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecommunications Company of Nigeria (ATCON). Mr. Olusola Teniola

Teniola, said that “At this point, if the CBN decides to go ahead with the implementation, we will have no choice but to pass the cost to the subscribers. Nigerians should be ready to pay more for calls and data subscriptions,” he said.

 

Teniola added that with the additional burden, the operators might also consider downsizing their staff strength to stay afloat.

 

He said that  all its members have concluded that the only way to survive with the new levy is to increase tariff across board.

 

“The eventual implementation of this levy of 0.005 per cent would cripple, if not render useless government and private sector efforts to speed up the broadband penetration in Nigeria and our association has a mandate to protect the investment in the telecom industry from undue pressure from the government in the form of yet additional burden on our members that are already overtaxed by all tiers of governments,” the ATCON President added.

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