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CBN and NCC to determine final winner of bid for 9Mobile

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are to pick the final winner of the bid for telecommunications operator 9Mobile. This differs from earlier reports that Teleology had been chosen as the winner. The sources quoted by Leadership also disputed the much bandied bid of $500 million by Teleology, but did not provide details of the actual sums that were bid.

Yet another twist

The journey regarding the selection of a new owner for the GSM operator, has been one filled with twists and turns. From rumours of Barclays Africa pulling out of the  bid process, to Globacom being a favoured bidder. Airtel was also reported to have pulled out of the final bid, due to alleged irregulairities. The Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier in the bid process also expressed concern about unnamed irregularities. CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, did not however disclose what the discrepancies were.

From a much avowed deadline of December last year, submission of final bids was shifted to January. At this rate, the company may not have a new winner till sometime in February.

Prior to the bid process

The two regulators had to intervene to prevent a consortium of banks led by GT Bank, from taking over 9Mobile ( then known as Etisalat Nigeria) after it defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan. The default led to parent company Etisalat of the UAE pulling out and relinquishing its 45% stake in the telecommunications firm. The banks then appointed United Capital as trustee, and have since taken provisions on the loan.

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9Mobile is one Nigeria’s top 4 GSM operators with an estimated 17 million subscribers. The three major GSM operators in the country are MTN, Globacom and Airtel. GSM technology is the dominant means of telecommunication in the country. 9 Mobile (then known as Etisalat Nigeria) began operations in October 2008.

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via [email protected]

Energy

Shell to focus on Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico and others as it seeks to cut 40% of costs

Shell is seeking to cut 40% of operating costs in its upstream oil and gas.

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Shell warns investors it may write down up to $22 billion due to oil crash

Royal Dutch Shell announced that it would focus its operations on Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico, The North Sea and a few others as it looks to reduce oil and gas production costs by 40%.

This was announced by Reuters in an exclusive report Monday after speaking with sources. Shell sources also reveal it would direct the saved costs into more renewable energy investments. The new project would be called Project Reshape, and would be implemented in all three divisions of the company with the aim of saving $4 billion due to the effect of the pandemic on the industry.

READ: Petroleum Industry Bill set to go to President Buhari

Nairametrics reported in July that Shell warned in its second-quarter 2020 outlook that it could write down between $15 billion – $22 billion in post impairment charges for Q2, due to the heavy effect of the pandemic in their business. Shell had earlier this year, shocked investors by cutting dividend by 2 thirds for the first time since World War 2.

A source told Reuters that the new reshape of the company would not only shake up the structure but also the culture and “type of company we want to be”, as the company fancies investments into the power and renewable sector with historical low margins, and also competition from other oil companies seeking to go green.

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(READ MORE: Warehousing and logistics: Key to the success of deregulation in Nigeria)

Shell is seeking to cut 40% of operating costs in its upstream oil and gas to make the new vision possible and focus on just key assets in Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico and others.

In the Downstream sector, Shell also plans on cutting costs in its fuel stations business with about 45,000 in service. A spokeswoman from the company announced that a cost competitive total strategic view of the organization is in place, “which intends to ensure we are set up to thrive throughout the energy transition and be a simpler organization.”

READ: Banks’ loans to private sector increase by N3.50 trillion in one year – CBN

CEO, Van Beurden said Shell would deliver $billion in its cost savings drive by Marche 2021, which includes suspended bonuses and job cuts. Shell also plans to reduce it refineries from 17 to 10 and announced plans of selling 3.

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Coronavirus

WHO approves protocol for phase 3 clinical trials for COVID-19 herbal medicine

A COVID-19 herbal medicine has gained approval by WHO for phase 3 clinical trial.

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WHO is concerned that vaccine hoarding could prolong pandemic, COVID 19: Facebook provides free Ads to help WHO combat Misinformation, COVID 19: Facebook supports WHO, provides free Ads to combat Misinformation, Coronavirus: WHO says Nigeria is among countries with highest cases, WHO warns countries against rushing to lift coronavirus restrictions, Covid-19: WHO lists conditions for relaxing restrictions

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs, has approved a protocol for phase 3 clinical trials of herbal medicine for Covid-19.

The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19, which was formed by the 3 institutions, while giving the approval also endorsed a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.

READ: Fidson’s plan to dominate the pharmaceutical space in the next 10 years

The Director Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Tumusiime, said, “Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies. The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.’

The technical documents that were approved are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards.

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READ: South Africa moves to become first African country to produce COVID-19 vaccine

This appears to add to the global effort to develop vaccines for the coronavirus disease, which are at different trial stages. The WHO had disclosed that there are well over 100 Covid-19 vaccines currently under development across the globe with about 8 of them at the phase 3 trial stage.

The phase 3 clinical trials are quite crucial in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety.

The late-stage trial will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial, based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.

READ: Moderna’s shares gain over 16% as COVID-19 vaccine passes first human trial

Dr Tumusiime explained that if a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality assured, the WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing. The WHO also noted that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in less than 60 days.

The Expert Committee Chairman, Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa said, “The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 is generated without compromising the safety of participants.”

The 25-member Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19 was mandated to support countries to improve on research and development of traditional medicine based therapies against the virus.

It is to also provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for Covid-19.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,242 confirmed cases.

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.

To date, 57,242 cases have been confirmed, 48,569 cases have been discharged and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321  tests have been carried out as of September 20th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 20th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 57,242
  • Total Number Discharged – 48,569
  • Total Deaths – 1,098
  • Total Tests Carried out – 482,321

According to the NCDC, the 97 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (46), Kwara (12), Rivers (11), Adamawa (4), Niger (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Ekiti (3), Imo (3), Kaduna (3), Plateau (2), FCT (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,943, followed by Abuja (5,551), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,348), Rivers (2,243), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,766), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (817), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).

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Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394),  Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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