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Paradigm Initiative Selects Two Journalists for Inaugural Media Fellowship

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Two journalists, Victor Ekwealor and Emmanuel Elolo Agbenonwossi, have been announced as the pioneer Fellows for the newly introduced Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship.

 

The media fellowship, a project of Paradigm Initiative, had attracted 116 applications from 19 countries.

 

This is according to a statement released by Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise working on digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

 

Sodiq Alabi, Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer, Speaking on the development, said, “We are pleased to announce the selection of two brilliant journalists for the inaugural edition of our media fellowship.

 

“We are excited about the quality of applications the fellowship attracted in its first year.

 

“The Fellowship program is a 5-month program designed to immerse selected journalists in digital rights advocacy and digital inclusion intervention efforts in Africa.

 

“Fellows will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving media interest in relevant issues.”
One of the two Fellows, Emmanuel Agbenonwossi, is a Togolese journalist, editor of GhanaWeb and managing editor of AfroTribune.

 

Agbenonwossi works to advance professional journalism and digital freedom with media and Internet rights defenders globally.

 

Emmanuel has contributed to policy research in Togo, Ghana, Cote-d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other African countries.

 

He is a fellow of UNESCO, ICANN, AfriSIG and the IGF Academy.

 

Emmanuel Agbenonwossi is an alumnus of the University of Greenwich (UK), the Central University of Tunisia and the University of Malta.

 

He holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism, a post-graduate diploma in Cyber-Security, Leadership and Business Information Technology.

 

The second fellow is Victor Ekwealor, a Nigerian writer, storyteller and award-winning multimedia journalist.

 

Victor works as Editor at TechPoint. His flair for storytelling stems from the desire to highlight untold African stories from the highest journalistic standards with modern technological tools.

 

Victor believes Africans would either tell more African stories or watch the world do it for them.

 

He is interested in, and mostly covers, the interaction of human beings and technology.

 

He is also interested in technology, startups, innovations, policies, digital inclusion and digital rights.

 

The fellowship will commence in September 2018, with a two-week residency at Paradigm Initiative’s Nigerian offices, in Aba, Abuja Ajegunle, Kano and Yaba, and run until January 2019.

 

Fellows will also get the chance to connect with Paradigm Initiative team members in Yaounde and Nairobi.

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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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