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NCC disburses N100 million to universities for ICT Research

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disbursed over N100 million to some Nigerian Universities to carry out research in telecommunications and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

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NCC disburses N100 million to universities for ICT Research

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disbursed over N100 million to some Nigerian Universities to carry out research in telecommunications and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at the endowment of professional chairs for some universities, said that the funds will help in enhancing research that will, in turn, boost the economy and create employment in the long run.

The two universities that received the endowment funds for ICT-focused and telecoms-related research are Bayero University Kano (BUK) and the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO). The value of each endowment for the 2019-2020 academic session is N20 million.

Why the Endowment? According to Danbatta, it was borne out of the need to provide academic support for ICT-focused research and other emerging telecom industry issues that may confront the nation. It also resonates with the NCC’s vision of leveraging the opportunity of ICT to address societal and developmental challenges through cutting edge research.

“This regulatory intervention is novel in telecommunication services regulation in Africa. We believe that it would open up a vista of growth opportunities in the ICT sector in Nigeria. For the Academia, it would enhance the quality of research on that sector as well as the quality of academic and professionals in the beneficiary universities.” -Danbatta

Stakeholders’ Response: Reacting to this development, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, commended the NCC’s efforts at research and development which are the key objectives of the initiative.

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Prof. Yahuza Bello, Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano, also expressed his gratitude while stating that the grant would be used to enhance research and development in the area of communication technology.

Bello said that the funds would also be used for training and award of scholarship to those who would be carrying out research in the telecom sector.

Prof. Eze Francis, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, also thanked NCC for considering the institution for the award

Speaking further, he assured the commission that the institution would do its best in encouraging the NCC so as to extend such collaboration and partnership to other universities and institutions in the future.

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Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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Financial Services

CBN to bar exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from banking services

The CBN will from January 31, 2021 bar all exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from accessing banking services.

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CBN to restrict foreign exchange on more food imports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the prohibition of all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.

The apex bank had in an earlier circular warned that failure to repatriate exports within 90 days for oil and gas and 180 days for non-oil exports constitute a breach of the extant regulation.

Analysts believe that the directive is part of a monetary control mechanism by policymaker to maintain relative stability in the exchange rate, especially after the pandemic created a wide disparity between the official exchange and the parallel market rates, eliminating incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges, etc.

In lieu of this, all concerned exporters are urged to comply with the directive before the specified date.

What you should know

  • According to Bloomberg sources, the new directive applies to exports up until June last year.
  • In a bid to ensure prudent use of foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier instructed authorised dealers and exporters to only open forms M for letters of credit, bills for collection and other forms of payment

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Financial Services

Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business

Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.

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Edwin Igbiti

Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.

This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.

Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;

  • The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
  • Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
  • The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
  • A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.

In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.

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What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.

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Energy

Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure

ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.

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ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.

This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.

Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.

The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.

The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.

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Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.

What they are saying

One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”

Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”

What you should know

  • Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
  • Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
  • Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
  • Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
  • February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
  • Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

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