The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that 10 new Value-Added Service (VAS) providers were licensed in 2019.
The commission made known that the licensing of the new providers had become necessary in order to deepen the market, and further improve scalability. This is because the market value of VAS is now $200 million, and is projected to hit $500 million by 2024.
The newly licensed companies include I-Cell Multimedia Limited; Nina-Jojer Limited; 21st Century Technologies Limited; Nitroswitch Limited; HML Consulting Limited; and Iykejordan Limited. Others are Cognys Systems Limited, Perpetual Communications Limited, Mobile Intelligence Limited, and Aerandir Technologies Nigeria Limited, Guardian reported.
According to the NCC, the VAS aggregator license is important as it would improve innovation, local content, employment opportunities, and increase in income stream to both network operators and content developers.
NCC added that over 24 million validly registered subscriber records were cleaned-up (de-duplicated) via Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), in fulfilment of the mandate to establish a credible database of telephone subscribers.
[READ MORE: NCC to issue new regulations on drone usage)
It also upgraded the database with additional features such as “Add SIM” and “Update SIM” functionalities as well as the National Identity Number (NIN) field for improved SIM registration process and ease of harmonisation of subscriber data with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) when the NIN regulation comes into force.
In addition, NCC is partnering with the NIMC to make the use of NIN mandatory in line with the Federal Government’s directive. The directive stipulates it for use for transactions such as SIM registration, reactivation/retrieval and so on.
What you should know: Nairametrics had reported when the NCC disclosed that a total number of 120 new Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were licensed between January and October this year. Although the number of licensed operators was at one time over 170, many operators quit because of the challenges surrounding the business.
WHO insists on its COVID-19 transmission guidance despite US new draft change
WHO has once again dismissed warnings by the United States’ CDC that the Coronavirus could be transmitted through airborne particles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed on Monday that it has not changed its policy on the aerosol transmission of the coronavirus disease, after United States health officials mistakenly drafted new guidance, warning that it could be transmitted through airborne particles.
While making the disclosure in a press briefing, the Executive Director of WHO’s Emergency Programme, Mike Ryan, said that he would follow up with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the next 24 hours, after it said COVID-19 could spread through airborne particles that could remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.
In a briefing, Mike Ryan said, “Certainly we haven’t seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same.”
Nairametrics had earlier reported that the WHO while providing an update on the mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that caused the Covid-19) from infected people, revealed that based on new scientific evidence, the coronavirus can be transmitted indoors by droplets in the air.
The UN health agency, in a scientific brief, said that people who spend time in crowded places with poor ventilation are at risk of being infected by the coronavirus as the droplets circulate throughout the air in indoor gatherings.
The CDC said that a draft version of changes to its recommendations were posted in error on its website, while it was in the process of updating its guidance.
It, however, said that the guidance would be reposted as soon as it had completed the review.
The CDC previously disclosed that the virus mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when a sick person coughed, sneezed or talked.
The WHO’s Ryan said the agency still believes the disease is primarily spread through droplets, but that in crowded closed spaces with inadequate ventilation, aerosol transmission can occur.
He said, “We still, based on the evidence, believe that there is a wide range of transmission modes.”
Agriculture vs Unemployment: Buhari’s farming policy has a major flaw
How workable is Buhari’s plan to send able-bodied young people to the farms as a way of solving unemployment in the country?
Two weeks ago, President Muhammadu directed that food and fertilizer importers should not be given access to foreign exchange by the CBN.
The President added that Nigeria has lots of young people (median age of 17.9), hence, agriculture is a means to solve unemployment among youths.
“We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work, and agriculture is the answer,” the President said.
However, Nigeria’s problem in Agriculture is not a lack of personnel, but a problem with productivity.
— Chairman AW (@AffiSupaStar) September 11, 2020
Is productivity related to manpower in other countries?
The Netherlands is Europe’s largest agriculture exporter, boasting of Europe’s most advanced agriculture sector. In 2019, the Netherlands exported €94.5 billion worth of agricultural goods. That is a 4.6% increase in the €90.4 billion export figure for 2018. Around two-thirds of this growth is due to an increase in export prices, while a third is due to higher export volume.
In 2019, the Netherlands had a labour force of 9 million, and just 2% of that figure is employed through agriculture. Meaningless than 300k people produce €94.5 billion worth of agricultural exports in 2019.
What about other emerging economies?
Comparing Nigeria to the Netherlands does not paint a proper picture as the latter is a typical first world nation with most of the labour force out of agriculture.
However, other emerging economies also have large agriculture sectors, which could be comparable to Nigeria’s.
The top 4 rice exporting nations of 2019 were India ($7.1 billion), Thailand ( $4.2 billion), USA ($1.9 billion), and Vietnam ($1.4 billion).
The United States is the only top 4 exporting rice nation that is not regarded as an “emerging economy.”
Does agriculture play a major role in their economic workforce/ productivity?
India: The Asian giant has a labour force of 494 million, of which 44% are employed in agriculture, the Industry employs 23% of Indians while the Service economy employs 31% of Indians.
However, despite being the world’s largest exporter of rice, agriculture produce did not even make India’s top ten exports, as industrial goods were responsible for India’s top ten exports. Mineral Fuels made up India’s top export in 2019 at $44.1 billion, followed by Gems and Precious Metals at $36.7 billion, and Computer Machinery at $21.2 billion.
India’s I.T sector is also a major producer of Indian productivity with domestic revenue expected to hit $44 billion in 2020, while exports revenue was estimated at US$ 147 billion.
Agriculture contributes 8.4% to Thailand’s GDP, with Industry at 39.2% and Services being the highest contributor at 52.4%.
Food is not a major top 5 export from Thailand, as Computer Machinery was its major export in 2019 at $40.2 billion, followed by Electrical equipment at $33.9 billion and Vehicles at $28.9 billion.
Vietnam: Southeast Asia’s star economy was the 3rd largest emerging economic rice exporter in 2019, with a labour force of 57 million. Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of $11.12 billion in 2019, from exports of $264.189 billion.
Agriculture contributes 15.3% to Vietnam’s GDP, followed by industry at 33.3% and Services at 51%.
Vietnam exported $126 billion in electrical equipment in 2019 alone, with smartphones and spare parts making up $51.38 billion of that amount. Footwear exports came at $24 billion in 2019 while clothing was $16 billion.
From the data above, agriculture which employs a component of emerging market economies does not contribute the most to their productivity, as manufactured goods are a major source of export income and rising.
Does sending more people to the farms increase productivity?
Affiong Williams, the founder of food processing company ReelFruits, says that she does not think sending more Nigerians to the farms will increase productivity because “There is very little material productivity to achieve by increasing physical labour on the farms. Productivity increases in Agriculture, which moves the needle on production output, are more impacted by things like fertilizers, mechanization, and increased technical expertise. Manual labour is no match for any of those things.“
What does Nigeria need to do to improve yields?
“The over-reliance on smallholder farming, in my opinion, is the biggest hindrance by the government to improve agro yields,” she added.
She added that even though the current model may be seen as a “development activity,” it barely achieves its true aim.
“To improve the output of any crop, one needs to do a lot of testing and control for so many factors to be able to arrive at the right conditions which increase productivity. Smallholder farmers do not have the resources to do this type of ‘A/B testing’ as it were and so it is very difficult to get true information and disseminate the right techniques that all of these farmers can apply.
“I think the government needs to enable more commercial farming by the private sector who are able to acquire the resources to increase productivity and disseminate such learnings at a faster pace,” she said.
The story is even more tragic when you compare with our neighbours: pic.twitter.com/YMAcGlzbOf
— Chairman AW (@AffiSupaStar) September 11, 2020
Bottom Line: The Nigerian government is not focusing on the aspects that increase productivity in agriculture which experts say are fertilizers, mechanization, and increased technical expertise, components that cannot be replaced with more human capital in the farms.
Secondly, growth in Nigerian agriculture yields can only be done through large scale commercial farming with the ability to conduct tests to find the right techniques for farmers.
Finally, compared to contemporary emerging economies, Nigeria is seriously lagging behind in both agriculture exports and manufactured exports, as Nigeria’s top ten agriculture exports hit just N289 billion between April 2019 – March 2020.
FG lists approved COVID-19 test centres for international travellers, to sanction airlines over non-compliance
The NCAA also warned airlines to desist from flouting COVID-19 protocols.
The Federal Government has listed the approved COVID-19 test centres for international travellers. This was disclosed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) via its Twitter handle on Monday.
According to the agency, some of the 68 centres are: EHA Clinics, The 54gene COVID-19 mobile laboratory, Medicaid Radio-diagnostics Centre, FCT Abuja; SynLab Ikeja, VI, Lekki; 54Gene Lekki, Medbury Medical Services, Imeja & Lekki; Clina Lancet, Maryland, and Biologix Medical Services, Anthony, Lagos, among others.
— Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (@FAAN_Official) September 21, 2020
Also, the FG through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has threatened to revoke the licenses of domestic airline operators over non-compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
Director-General, NCAA, Mr Musa Nuhu, issued the warning in a letter to all operators (DG39/20), with reference NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/267 on Monday.
Nuhu said the warning was made necessary because some domestic airlines had been flouting the protocols.
According to him, the continuous non-compliance with the COVID-19 protocols would attract severe penalties up to and including cancellation of approval to resume domestic operations.
He said: “It has been brought to the notice of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority that some domestic airline operators have not been complying with the COVID-19 protocols.
“These protocols were released through All Operators Letter (AOL) DG035/20 ref. NCAA/DG/AIR/ 11/16/260, dated Sept. 4 and an Advisory Circular (AC) NCAA-AC-AMS-006, also dated Sept. 4.
“Approval for resumption of domestic operations are predicated on compliance with the above protocols.”
Nuhu added that this was a warning to all domestic operators who were not in compliance to desist from such acts immediately.