The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it is in talks with telecommunications companies (telcos) and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for new Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) charges.
The disclosure was made by Samuel Okojere, CBN’s Director of Payment System Management while speaking at the 2019 Mobile Money Conference organized by the Association of Licensed Mobile Payment Operators (ALMPO) as reported by Vanguard.
Okojere, who was represented by Aisha Isa-Olatinwo, Assistant Director Payment System Department, CBN, while speaking on the role of regulators in accelerating mobile money adoption in Nigeria said,
“Engagement with the NCC is still ongoing to find a new conducive pricing regime for USSD services in the Industry.
“..notwithstanding the progress made in Mobile Money adoption we have a lot of ground to cover up in Nigeria as a whole. The last survey by EfiNa showed that the level of exclusion is still far from the national target. Our challenge is more pronounced in the part of the country with insurgency and other skirmishes.
“Furthermore, it is necessary that we improve the agent’s footprints across the country to bring the services closer to the excluded. This represents the opportunity for mobile money operators to make their operations counts in a quest to have a highly inclusive financial system in Nigeria.”
The uproar over USSD charges started on the 20th October 2019 when MTN subscribers received a message from MTN. The message read: “Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.”
Shortly after, another Yello message was sent to inform Nigerians about the N4.00K charge on every 20 seconds session access to USSD banking services.
After so much back and forth talks on who was to be blamed for the charges between the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telcos, and banks, the NCC suspended the end-user billing for financial transactions by telcos through USSD channel.
Petrol supply drops by over 23% due to decline in consumption
Consumption of petroleum products to decline to 27.2 billion litres in 2020.
The total volume of petrol supplied in Nigeria declined by 23.88% in July, when it fell from 1.34 billion litres in June 2020 to 1.02 billion litres.
This was disclosed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in its monthly performance data for July.
According to the report, the 1.02 billion litres translated to 32.95 million litres per day, down from 44.62 million litres per day in June, when 1.34 billion litres were supplied.
The performance data also stated that 0.95 billion litres (30.67 million litres/day) were supplied in May, and 0.94 billion litres (31.37 million litres/day) in April.
In March and February, the volume of petrol supplied stood at 1.73 billion (59.72 million litres/day), up from 1.20 billion litres in January (38.68 million litres/day)
It stated, “The corporation has continued to diligently monitor the daily stock of Premium Motor Spirit, to achieve smooth distribution of petroleum products and zero fuel queue across the nation.”
Agusto projects further decline
Experts in Agusto & Co, in a report, have noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activities in the country resulted in a decline in the consumption of petroleum products.
The report said, “Agusto & Co. expects the consumption of petroleum products, particularly PMS and Aviation Turbine Kerosene, to decline to 27.2 billion litres in 2020, given the severely restricted travel and transportation activities during the second and third quarters of the year.
“This is expected to translate to a decline in revenue to N4.3tn in 2020.”
NNPC has, until recently, been the sole importer of petrol into the country for more than two years, after private oil marketers stopped importing the commodity, due to crude price fluctuations, among other issues.
The refineries, located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity.
President Trump approves Oracle, Walmart deal with TikTok
Trump approved in principle a deal in which major Oracle and Walmart would partner with TikTok.
President Trump on Saturday night disclosed that he had approved in principle a deal in which major Oracle and Walmart would partner with TikTok in the U.S, thereby allowing the fast-growing social app to maintain operation in the world’s largest economy.
“I have given the deal my blessing if they get it done that’s great if they don’t that’s okay too,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for North Carolina. “I approved the deal in concept.”
Trump further disclosed the new firm will likely be registered in Texas.
Shortly after Trump’s comments, Oracle announced it was chosen as TikTok’s secure cloud provider and will become a minority investor with a 12.5% stake. Walmart and TikTok could not be immediately reached for comment. Trump said the companies would unveil the full scope of the deal soon.
Oracle CEO Safra Catz spoke elaborately on the deal saying; “We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world.
“This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”
Nairametrics, a few days ago broke the news on the proposed plan, awaiting President Trump’s approval, which included Oracle owning a minority stake that will be lower than 20% of the new global TikTok. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer by revenue will also take a stake, though its amount remains unknown.
While the Chinese authorities have asserted it’s right to obstruct the sale of vital technologies, it is likely to approve the deal as long as it doesn’t involve the transfer of the artificial intelligence algorithms that drive TikTok’s service.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 19th of September 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria.
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 57,145 confirmed cases.
On the 19th of September 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 57,145 cases have been confirmed, 48,431 cases have been discharged and 1095 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 19th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 57,145
- Total Number Discharged – 48,431
- Total Deaths – 1,095
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 189 new cases were reported from 15 states- Lagos (70), Plateau (37), FCT (24), Kaduna (19), Rivers (12), Oyo (5), Ogun (4), Ebonyi (3), Katsina (3), Ondo (3), Osun (3), Imo (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Nasarawa (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,897, followed by Abuja (5,550), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,229), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,345), Rivers (2,232), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,762), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,013), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (813), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).
Imo State has recorded 559 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (314), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (250), Anambra (232), Adamawa (230), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
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.