The Body of Bank CEOs applauds the recent notice from the National Communications Commission (NCC) announcing the immediate suspension of end-user billing for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services. We would like to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for championing this action.
When presented with two options by the telecommunications companies – corporate billing versus end-user billing – banks supported the standard practice for a relationship between a telecommunications company and their subscribers. We proposed the same method they charge for voice calls, SMS and data. We then asked to work with the telecommunications companies to bring the cost of their USSD service down for Nigerians. We were therefore very surprised at the announcements from MTN on the 19th and 20th October.
Since banks cannot reasonably be expected to charge for the service of another industry, over which they have no control of price, quality and security we are delighted that consumers will now be able to access their bank for free, using USSD. This is a giant leap for the National Financial Inclusion Strategy where, through Bank’s subsidising USSD, we have already been able to bring 20m Nigerians into the formal financial system in recent years.
The Banks, supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria, have long advocated the designation of USSD services as a critical national asset to enable such free access to USSD. Indeed, in countries like India, free access to USSD channels have long been established to successfully drive financial inclusion.
We look forward to working with the telecommunications industry to achieve the objectives of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. We believe that with this new development, we will achieve 80% financial inclusion in 2020.
Body of Bank CEOs
Uganda Elections: Museveni re-elected for 6th term with 58.6% of the votes
Uganda’s President Museveni has won a 6th term in office as the opposition alleges wide-scale rigging.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has been re-elected as President, gathering 5.85 million votes compared to 3.48 million votes by main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.
According to Reuters, this victory represents 58.6% of the vote cast while Bobi Wine got 34.8%
Bobi Wine announced that the election results show this is the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda and urged his followers to reject the result.
What you should know
- Yoweri Museveni, aged 76, has been President of the East African nation since 1986.
- Bobi Wine claimed via his official Twitter handle that military men jumped over his fence and took control of his home yesterday.
Combined Vaccine Manufacturing capacity to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity is expected to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021.
Meristem Group disclosed that the combined effort in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for global use is expected to yield about 6.8 billion doses in 2021.
This was revealed in the Annual Outlook 2021 report presented by Meristem Group, titled “Bracing for a different future.”
According to the report, the existing manufacturing capacity will only be sufficient enough to immunize about 44% of the global population, which would create obvious vaccination gap and make the pandemic last longer than necessary.
The report states,
- “The cold temperature requirements for vaccine storage pose major logistics concern particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries. WHO estimates that about 50% of vaccines are wasted every year, largely due to a lack of temperature control.”
According to the report, the estimated 6.8billion doses are expected to be collaboratively manufactured as follows: CanSino – 0.2billion, AstraZeneca – 3.0 billion, Gamaleya – 0.3billion, Moderna – 0.4billion, Pfizer-BioNtech – 1.3billion, SinoPharm – 1billion, and SinoVac – 0.6billion.
What you should know
- The global population as of 2020 is 7.8billion and 70% is required to achieve herd immunity (otherwise called herd protection)
- Herd Immunity or herd protection is achieved when you have most of the population immunized against an infectious disease.
- 2 doses of the vaccines are required for each person for immunity.
- It is expected that between 11 and 15 billion doses would be required to achieve the desired herd immunity, globally.
- From all indications, herd immunity may not be achieved until mid or late 2022, with the subsisting 100% vaccine production capacity utilization in 2021 – with neither production nor distribution losses.
- To achieve regulatory approval, a vaccine must undergo a three-stage clinical development process after the exploratory and pre-clinical stages and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a phase 3 efficacy benchmark of 50%.
Covid-19: Global deaths surpass 2 million
Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday.
The Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday, with the United States accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths, as it has recorded over 386,000 casualties so far.
This was disclosed in a report by Reuters in its Covid-19 tally reported on Friday evening.
After the United States, Brazil, Mexico, India and the U.K contribute nearly 50% of the combined casualties.
The report also disclosed that an average of 11,900 casualties are recorded per day in year 2021, despite the fact that it took 9 months for the world to record 1 million casualties.
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said the 2 million death count was “a heart-wrenching milestone.”
- “Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” he added.
The WHO warned that 2021 could be tougher due to the nature of new variants which transmit the disease faster.
- “We are going into a second year of this. It could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” WHO Chief, Mike Ryan, said.
Analysts expect the global death toll to surpass 3 million by April 2021.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that the total number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria had surpassed the 100,000 mark on Sunday 10th January 2021, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
- The African Union stated that it secured 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent from drug manufacturers to supplement the COVAX programme, a step towards the commencement of the complex task of vaccinating over 1.2 billion people with limited financial resources.
- The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Friday 15th January 2021, announced that 1,867 new cases of the covid-19 virus were recorded across 24 states in the country. This represents the highest number of cases recorded in a single day.