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Opera refutes Hindenburg Research’s allegation that it violated Google’s policy 

Opera Ltd has denied claims by investment firm, Hindenburg Research, suggesting that its apps violate Google’s policy. 

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Opera refutes Hindenburg Research’s allegation that it violated Google’s policy 

Opera Ltd, the Oslo-based developer of Opera web browser and other affiliated services like OPay and OKash, has denied claims by an investment firm, Hindenburg Research, suggesting that its apps violate Google’s policy.

A brief statement that was issued on the company’s website acknowledged the Hindenburg report, and then called it misleading and unsubstantiated before proceeding to reiterate that the Opera brand is built on “high standards of corporate governance”.

“The Company is aware of and has carefully reviewed the report published by the short seller on January 16, 2020. The Company believes that the report contains numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misleading conclusions and interpretations regarding the business and events relating to the Company.”

Focus on the allegation: The Hindenburg report, which was published on the 16th of January, made some really damaging allegations against Opera. According to the report, Opera’s lending platforms, which operate in Nigeria (OKash), Kenya, and India, have been violating a Google policy aimed at stamping out short-term payday loan apps from Google Play Store.

In other words, OKash, for instance, reportedly lures potential Nigerian customers with promises of longer-term loans, even though these offers are, as a matter of fact, short-term loans with outrageous charge rates that often exceed 300%.

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[READ MORE: MTN, Globacom, Etisalat Violated Porting Process Time – NCC)

In view of this, therefore, the report asserted that Opera’s entire business model could be very much affected, should Google decide to look into the violations. Below are excerpts from the report.

  • Most of Opera’s lending business is operated through apps offered on Google’s Play Store. In August, Google tightened rules to curtail predatory lending and, as a result, Opera’s apps are now in black and white violation of numerous Google rules.
  • Given that the vast majority of Opera’s loans are disbursed through Android apps, we think this entire line of business is at risk of disappearing or being severely curtailed when Google notices.
  • Instead of disclosing to investors that its “high-growth” microfinance segment could be imperilled by these new rules, Opera instead immediately raised $82 million in a secondary offering without disclosing Google’s changes to investors.
  • Opera’s short-term loan business now accounts for over 42% of the company’s revenue and is responsible for eye-popping top-line “growth”. Meanwhile, the segment experienced massive defaults (~50% of lending revenue) and company-wide cash flow has worsened.

In the meantime, Google has not reacted to this report no taken action towards punishing Opera for the alleged “violation”. It should also be noted that Opera’s OKash feature was temporarily removed following the report by Hindenburg Research.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Obituaries

Just-in: Diego Armando Maradona is dead

Argentine football star, Diego Armando Maradona is dead.

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Argentine football star, Diego Armando Maradona is dead.

This was disclosed by the Premier League via its Twitter handle on Wednesday evening.

It tweeted, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of footballing great, Diego Maradona, an extraordinarily gifted footballer who transcended the sport.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences to Diego’s family, friends and those who knew him.”

He reportedly died of a heart attack on Wednesday at his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

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Maradona, 60, had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.

 

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Details soon …

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Energy

FG to begin online registration, monitoring of petrol stations, depots

The DPR has stated that it will commence the remote monitoring, registration, and accreditation of all petroleum products depots.

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FG to begin online registration, monitoring of petrol stations, depots

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has revealed that it plans to automate and begin remote monitoring, registration, and accreditation of petroleum products depots, retail outlets, and the entire downstream oil and gas industry, with the launch of the newly established Downstream Remote Monitoring Systems (DRMS).

While disclosing a statement in Abuja, the Head, Public Affairs of the DPR, Paul Osu, pointed out that the newly established Downstream Remote Monitoring Systems is expected to take off on December 1, 2020, after the launch in Abuja.

READ: Nigeria’s 5,000 BPD refinery will produce 271 million liters of petrol every year

According to a report by Vanguard, Osu explained that the DRMS is a web-based solution designed to provide intelligent regulatory and inventory management system for petroleum products supply and distribution from depot to retail outlets and also as a regulatory tool to monitor retail outlets and depot activities.

He said, “Other features of the application include retail outlets accreditation and re-registration, nationwide automated product inventory management, retail outlets coordinate recording for mapping purposes and transactions management and report generation of dealers nationwide.

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READ: NNPC says local operators must improve capacity to achieve low cost of oil production

“The establishment of DRMS is another strategic initiative of DPR to continue to create opportunities and enable business in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.”

It can be recalled that the DPR had a few months ago, launched the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS), another online platform to assist the oil and gas regulator accurately monitor national crude oil production and exports, through the provision of a system for direct and independent acquisition of production data from oil and gas facilities in Nigeria

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READ: House of Reps summon Emefiele, NNPC GMD over unremitted N3.24 trillion

This is to ensure timely and accurate reporting of production figures and export data. This is also expected to guard against the crude oil theft that is prevalent in Nigeria’s upstream oil sector or reported cases of crude oil that is sold but unaccounted for.

The NPMS is an initiative that is developed as a replacement for the current paper-based report and ensures ready production reporting to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and other agencies.

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Financial Services

Era of backlog of unsettled claims is over – NAICOM boss

NAICOM has stated that it will monitor and sanction insurance companies who fail to settle claims as at when due.

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NAICOM

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) is out to seriously sanction any insurance companies with huge unsettled claims.

This disclosure was made by the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, at the on-going 2020 Insurance Directors’ Conference, jointly organized by NAICOM and the College of Insurance & Financial Management (CIFM), held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.

READ: EFCC gives reason for unspent N4 billion in 2020 budget

Mr. Thomas reiterated the need for the operators, post-pandemic, to appropriately strengthen their human and financial capital for effective participation in big-ticket risks to take advantage of the obvious gains of the domestication policy in the Nigeria Content Development Act 2010.

In his words, Mr. Thomas stated, “More businesses especially in the oil and gas and the Aviation sectors are now being reinsured abroad. Of more concern is the declining participation of life companies in the annuity business, which is the emerging business for our industry.

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READ: SEC issues pre-notice on cancellation of certificates of 157 inactive CMOs

“These are the areas where the industry can impose itself on the economy through the control of funds for national development. The industry must invest handsomely in technology, one of our key drivers for developing the market.

“The Institutions should be prepared to digitalize their processes, procedures, and systems, in order to make their operations seamless and real-time. The Commission is investing heavily in automating its processes and expects nothing less from the insurance institutions. An industry Information Technology Guideline has been issued for the operators and the Commission requires your support and cooperation for effective compliance.”

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(READ MORE: FG seeking FDI to develop Special Economic Zones – Trade Minister)

Why this matters

Prompt settlement of claims should be a top priority for the insurance operators in achieving an excellent and responsive customer service experience. Settlement of claims has been a serious nightmare for quite a number of customers, resulting to the abysmally low insurance culture in Nigeria.

READ: Fidelity Bank Plc must cover the chink in its curtains to keep rising 

Customers are more likely to patronize the insurance companies that are prompt in claims settlement and by extension improve the industry penetration in the market.

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