Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has alerted Nigerians that ten states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, may experience a total outage of telecoms services in the next few days.
The fear of the outage in the states emerged following the shutdown of several base stations by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service.
Kogi State government had requested from the telecom companies the payment of about 36 statutory and non-statutory taxes and levies through its Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Kogi State Environmental Protection Board, and championed by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).
The ALTON chairman 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 govern business activities within the state.
While addressing some newsmen in Lagos, Adebayo had alleged that an attempt by the Kogi State Government to increase its internally generated revenue had led to the sealing of hub sites in Kogi, which has multiple connections with other base stations in neighbouring states.
Adebayo said, As a result of the action by the state government, members of the association are unable to refuel power generators in these sites, a situation which has led to the outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State.
Adebayo added that the number of affected sites had risen to 150, and more sites are likely to be affected in the next few days that will lead to the total outage of telecoms services in the nine states.
The nine states which are likely to be affected by the outage include Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger States. These are states sharing borders with Kogi State; Abuja, the FCT is also inclusive.
According to Adebayo, the total outage would not only affect telecoms services but would also affect banking services like Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sales (PoS) that are used for financial transactions, since such financial services are delivered on the platform of telecoms infrastructure.
Adebayo stressed that the imminent outage would also affect national security issues in the nine states and Abuja, should there be any delay in addressing the issue.
FG to support MSME contribution to economy to boost development – Minister
The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for SMEs in Nigeria.
The Federal Government declared that it is working with stakeholders to improve MSME participation in the economy through improving the business climate which will create jobs.
This was disclosed by Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit, on Tuesday, themed “The Role of Entrepreneurship, MSME and EMPRETEC in post-COVID-19 Resurgence.”
The Minister stated that the MSME sector of the economy is the growth engine of any economy which contributes to its development, job creation and export, amongst others.
“An MSMEs survey indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth, including reducing poverty and unemployment levels.
It has, therefore, become more apparent that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.
This is why the Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors, to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure that they grow now and into the future,” she stated.
On economic sustainability
The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for SMEs in Nigeria. She also disclosed that the FG launched the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a framework for the resolution of the challenges faced by the sector.
The programmes launched by the FG includes the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes, operated by a Steering Committee in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“The Government of Nigeria had, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, initiated the MSMEs Clinics scheme as a strategy, aimed at providing support for the MSMEs in the country.
At the clinics, operators in the MSMEs space are engaged by regulators and business advisory experts, on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, skill development, finance, quality & standards, and on how to facilitate and grow their businesses and enterprises,” she added.
What you should know
Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.
A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1%. This means that 33.3% of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.
Amazon to open its first African office in South Africa
Amazon already launched its data centres for AWS in Cape Town but its eCommerce services had until now, not been available in Africa,
Amazon, US retail giant has announced that it would be opening its first African office in South Africa with a real estate investment of over R4 billion. This announcement is coming a week after Twitter choose to open its first African office in Ghana.
Authorities in Cape Town noted that Amazon would be occupying a new development in River Club, a prime section of the city. This new development will create 5,239 jobs in the construction phase alone. Along with 19,000 indirect and induced jobs.
The 15-hectare parcel of land will cost R4 billion and include two precincts. Authorities said the first precinct of 60,000sqm will occupy different layers of development; while the second section of 70,000 will hold Amazon headquarters in Africa.
Cape town city officials noted that “US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent. The development is envisaged to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.
It is clear that this development offers many economic, social and environmental benefits for the area. We are committed to driving investment to revitalize the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of Covid-19.”
What you should know
Amazon already launched its data centres for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in cape town but its eCommerce services had until now, not been available in Africa.
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