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Paradigm Initiative Releases 2018 Annual Report, Demonstrates Impact

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The social enterprise, Paradigm Initiative has released its 2018 annual report. The report provides insight into the work of the organisation, especially in how it lives up to its mission of improving the “livelihoods of underserved youths”.

 

Sodiq Alabi, Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer, on Wednesday stated this in a statement released in Lagos.

 

According to him, “Featured in the annual report is Joy Ukpong, an alumna of the group’s free digital inclusion program.

 

“At the time of joining the program, 27-year old Joy Ukpong’s income was N10,000 a month as a  struggling hairdresser in Ajegunle, Lagos.

 

“She was desperate for a break, and Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Inclusion program gave her the break which she wisely seized, learning relevant digital and life skills.

 

“Few weeks after the conclusion of the 10-week training, Ukpong got a job as an administrative assistant at a law firm. Her income immediately jumped to N25,000.

 

“Thanks to her new skills, Ukpong has a more stable income and work structure that allows her to develop herself.”

 

Alabi, said that “Ukpong’s story is another proof that our investment in digital inclusion programs in underserved communities is indeed improving the livelihood of the beneficiaries.”

 

‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative also said, “As a result of the year’s investment in under-served Nigerian youth, we were able to train 869 students through the 10-week LIFE program, LIFE@School Club and the quarterly workshops. 150 students got internships, picked up jobs, earned enough to return to school, joined apprenticeship programs and/or started micro businesses.

 

“During the year, the average income among our students grew from N4,805.15 to N23,083.25!”

 

Highlighting the group’s work in digital rights, Sesan said “In 2018, our Digital Rights work covered Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

 

“We hosted 13 training programs, reviewed 36 policy documents, produced 12 research-based reports, acted on 20 digital rights violations, and led 4 litigation processes.”

The Director of Programs, Tope Ogundipe said the passage of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill is an important milestone for the group in 2018.

 

The Bill, which was transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on February 5 2019, has been a major project of the group since 2014 when it began advocacy for the passage of a law dedicated to the protection of online rights and freedoms.

 

Paradigm Initiative, which was founded in Nigeria in 2007, is physically present in five African countries, from where it executes programs across the continent.  

 

The group said its new Strategic Management Plan (2019-2023) would even see it do more over the next few years.

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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MTN Yet to File Application for Listing on NSE- SEC

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), apex capital market regulator, has said that MTN Nigeria has not filed any application that could kick-start regulatory consideration of the proposed listing of the telco on the Nigerian stock market.

 

SEC stated that while there had been some engagements with the telco, MTN Nigeria or its professional parties have not filed any formal application with the apex capital market regulator.

 

MTN recently indicated it plans to list its shares by way of introduction, rather than the initial plan of an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

 

By way of introduction, MTN Nigeria’s existing shares will be admitted to the Daily Official List of the Exchange for trading. MTN indicated it plans to list before the end of this first half.

 

Under the extant rules, a private limited liability company seeking to list its shares shall convert to public limited liability company and register its shares with SEC.

 

For listing by way of introduction, the company will then apply to the relevant Exchange for listing.

In the case of IPO, the company will apply to SEC for approval of the IPO and the relevant Exchange if it intends to list after the IPO.

 

Briefing newsmen after the meeting of the Capital Market Committee (CMC) in Lagos, Ms Mary Uduk, acting director general, Securities and Investment Services, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), noted that there is an established due process for listing and issuance of securities in the Nigerian capital market, which forms the basis for regulatory consideration.

 

“There is no formal application as at now, until when they file application, that’s when we will know what method of listing they want,” Uduk said.

 

MTN Nigeria had in 2016 appointed an advisory team and set out a road map towards listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 2017.

 

The telco however missed the 2017 target and has since been struggling with the listing.

 

The board of MTN Nigeria had announced the appointment of Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited and its affiliates, Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and Standard Advisory London Limited and Citigroup Global Markets Limited as the joint transaction advisors and joint global coordinators for the proposed listing of MTN Nigeria on the NSE.

 

It should be recalled that as part of the conditions to settle its $3.4 billion fine by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), MTN Nigeria had announced its intention to list its shares on the NSE as soon as commercially and legally possible.

 

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Telcos Mull Tariff Hike over Hostile Environment

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Telecommunications operators are considering an upward review of call tariff in selected states as well as the cost of doing business in the country.

 

It was gathered that this move became necessary in view of the multiple taxes and levies imposed by government agencies in certain states on telecoms infrastructure.

 

Punch learnt that a consultant would be engaged to carry out a cost-based study, which could lead to a higher call tariff on outgoing calls by residents.

 

Over the years, network operators have raised the alarm over arbitrary taxes and levies imposed on the telecoms infrastructure in certain states and subsequent shutdown of Base Transceiver Stations over failure to comply.

 

In January this year, MTN expressed concerns regarding the shutdown of its facilities in Kogi State over allegations that it had not met its tax obligations to the state government.

 

The company alleged that the state government was demanding immediate payment of social service contribution levy, employee development levy and annual rent for Right-of-Way on fibre optics cable, saying payment would amount to multiple taxes.

 

Also in 2018, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) complained of the sealing of hub telecoms stations of its members due to the failure of the operators to comply with the payment of about 36 statutory and non-statutory taxes and levies in Kogi State.

 

At a press conference in Lagos, Gbenga Adebayo, cairman, ALTON, had explained that members of the association had settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi State Government and had taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that governed business activities within the state.

 

He alleged that an attempt by the Kogi State Government to increase its internally generated revenue would lead to total communications blackout in Kogi State and parts of Abuja, Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger states.

 

“As a result of these actions by the state government, our members are unable to refuel power generators at these sites, a situation which has led to the outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State. Now, there is likely impact on nine states surrounding Kogi namely: Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger states. These are states sharing borders with Kogi State, and Abuja the FCT inclusive,” Adebayo had said.

 

Also in January last year, major base transceiver stations of network operators in Taraba State were shut over demands for the payment of environmental protection levy of about N285m by each telecoms operator.

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Smile Expands Retail Footprint with Quickteller Paypoint Agents Nationwide

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L-R: , Onyeka Ukpaka, Head, Business Development, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services; Titilola Shogaolu, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services; Gbolahan Thomas, Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, Smile Nigeria; Lotanna Anajemba, Head, Brands and Communications, Smile Nigeria, and Adenike Ajayi , Head, Retail Business, Smile Nigeria, during an MoU signing ceremony between both organisations in Lagos. recently

Smile, a 4G LTE broadband telecommunications service provider, has collaborated with Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services Limited (IFIS)to make Smile ’s products and services easily accessible via Quickteller Paypointagent locations spread across Nigeria.

This unique collaboration provides ease and flexibility of payment for everyone to have access to the SuperFast, quality, reliable and affordable internet and voice services from Smile, the network of choice.

According to its GM Sales and Distribution, Onamari Horsfall, Smile is happy to sign this collaboration to expand its retail footprint across Nigeria, which has a combination of making Smile’s products and services easily available and addressing customer’s travel time to purchase a device or airtime. He added that the collaboration offers thousands of Smile’s customers’ another means of making purchases.

The Divisional Chief Executive Officer of IFIS, Titilola Shogaolu, stated, “At Interswitch Financial Inclusion Service, we are not only committed to reducing the financial exclusion gap, we are continuously working to provide convenient services and this latest collaboration is just one of the many ways through which we are achieving this.”

Viewed critically, this latest collaboration with IFIS further underscores Smile’s unending quest to best serve its customers.

Smile launched the first 4G LTE network in West Africa in Nigeria in 2014 revolutionizing the way people access the internet. Customers in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin City, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba, can experience the country’s most reliable, SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband services, and also enjoy SuperClear voice calls, video calls and SMSs from their one SmileData bundle. Please visit smile.com.ng for more information.

Smile was the first to launch VoLTE on its network and has continued with its innovation, having introduced SmileVoice, which is a free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple handset, including those which are not VoLTE-enabled, to make supper clear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE networks.

Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services Limited, trading as Quickteller Paypoint, has been positioned by Interswitch Group to serve as the interconnect point and infrastructure for integrating and delivering financial, non-financial, retail and social services to the unbanked, under-banked and banked.

IFIS collaborates with financial service providers, merchants, billers and other organisations that aim to increase their efficiency and outreach through our network of human service interfaces nationwide.

The collaboration, which is expected to create over 18,000 Quickteller Paypoint agent locations across Nigeria, will position IFIS to work assiduously to remove the barriers to financial inclusion while creating wealth for its paramount stakeholder- the agent. Using simple innovative technology, persons can pay their bill, transfer money, receive money, buy airtime recharge and open a bank account at our Quickteller Paypoint agent location nationwide, Shogaolu said.

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