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COVID-19: Teams, Slack make more money as firms adopt remote working

As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, rival instant messaging platforms, Microsoft Teams and Slack, are recording huge gains, in terms of user patronage.

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The past few weeks have no doubt been challenging for corporate persons and business establishments, as Coronavirus bites harder on a global scale. Many are being forced to engage in work-from-home situations, as business centres and companies have shut their doors to customers in the bid to help authorities curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, rival instant messaging platforms, Microsoft Teams and Slack, are recording huge gains, in terms of user patronage.

The surge

As at Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Microsoft Teams’ number of daily active users increased to 44 million, compared to the 20 million active users it had in November last year (2019).

Similarly, Slack added 7,000 customers between Sunday, February 1, and March 18, 2020, compared to 5,000 new customers it added in its 2019 Q1.

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Company management teams and their employees across the world, are now settling for Microsoft Teams and Slack, as social distancing becomes needful to control the spread of the infectious disease.

In terms of data usage, telecom operators are also making a killing, as people consume more data when working remotely than when working with wifi in the office.

Coronavirus: Instant messaging platforms, Telcos raking in funds from the work-from-home policy

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The work-from-home arrangement, which is particularly for employees whose work can be done remotely, has contributed to the stiff competition between Microsoft Teams and Slack. This is as both digital platforms jostle to gain admirable market share while amassing more users from workplaces across all industries.

Coronavirus and remote working

Despite the widely-accepted belief that physical presence in a work station is paramount to the survival of a business, companies and business owners have been left with no choice but to allow their staff members operate remotely.

[READ MORE: Coronavirus: MTN Nigeria sensitises customers with network bar)

As businesses are moving their offices online, it may not be erroneous to assert that the work-from-home policy is one of the upshots of COVID-19 on the society at large.

While uncertainty surrounds the lifespan of the disease spread, in Nigeria, for example, some companies that are yet to ask their employees to work remotely, have been called out on social media. One of these companies is the media company, Opera.

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A Twitter user, @Zeekahthegreat, on Saturday, March 21, called out Opera Nigeria, accusing the management of the company of failing to allow their staff members operate remotely, in spite of the severity of coronavirus.

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Her tweets read partly, “They have over 400 customer care staff including foreign Chinese nationals all choked up together working in a hall all at a time. The FG has placed a ban on large gatherings, so why is the government not looking into companies like this and their work conditions. 

“I am concerned especially for my younger sister who works here. My mom suffered to raise 3 kids on her own without help from anyone, she is not about to lose a child. They are not being checked at the entry point every morning, the entire staff share just 5 female restrooms, and 3 for the males.

“I need for us to tag the necessary authorities to have the OPay team let their staff work from home till this whole Coronavirus thing blows away. Money will never be more important than life.” 

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

This social media user’s plight is the case of other Nigerians, who have expressed concerns directly and indirectly, on the need for companies and employers to embark on remote operations. Thus, for companies where remote work is possible, communications, social events, conferences, and meetings, will now be via either Microsoft Teams or Slack.

[READ ALSO: COVID-19: Hotels.ng partners others to provide self-isolation centres for Nigerians)

Telcos 

Telecom providers such as MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile are likely to increase the costs of their data, as many companies and self-employed individuals have proceeded to observe the sit-at-home policy.

It is common knowledge that the internet is basic for this policy to thrive amid the COVID-19 spread, which is gradually crippling the Nigerian economy. Without the internet, workflow is expected to be disruptive, which will pose serious threats to business entities in any given context.

MTN Nigeria shares, Airtel Afrrica shares, Glo subscribers, 9mobile subscribers, Internet speed, Data war heightens, as 311,183 subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile 

MTN Nigeria, Airtel Globacom and 9mobile

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Just like Economics asserts, when demand is high, surge is imminent. This assertion has become imperative for acknowledgement, as data usage among telecommunication consumers keeps increasing.

Meanwhile, telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had earlier disclosed that they had held meetings with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the federal and state governments.

The meeting, according to ALTON, was to discuss how best to ensure hitch-free telecoms services for internet users, at least, till the infectious disease spread becomes a thing of the past.

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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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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Financial Services

Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor

The CBN revealed during the MPC meeting that the total credit to the economy rose to N19.54tn as of the end of November 13.

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Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor, CRR debits, P-AADS, #EndSARS: CBN says funds in frozen accounts may be linked to terrorist activities, Covid-19: Court closures impacted revenue generation for courts - Emefiele, P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG, Leaked letter by Poultry Farmers Association triggered CBN emergency approval to import maize, nImplications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months, BREAKING: CBN Upscales Greenwich Trust Limited, grants it's operational license for merchant banking, AGSMEIS: CBN expand beneficiaries to 14,638., CBN expands access to mortgage financing

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed during the Monetary Policy Committee meeting that the total credit to the economy rose to N19.54tn as of the end of November 13.

According to him, the aggregate domestic credit grew by 7.6% in October 2020 compared with 7.35% Month-on-Month in September.

READ: MTN Nigeria revenues rises to over N100 billion monthly in 2020

In his words, “Total gross credit by the banking industry stood at N19.54tn as at 13th November 2020 compared with N19.33tn at end-August 2020, an increase of N290.13bn. When compared with N15.56tn at the commencement of the LDR policy in May 2019, total gross credit increased by N3.97tn.”

According to Emefiele, the composition of the loans are N738bn to Manufacturing, General commerce N874bn, Agric and forestry N301bn, Construction N291bn, ICT (N231bn), etc.

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READ: CBN urges banks to ‘support’ media, aviation industries to avert growing job losses

In the month of October 2020, he stated that 86.23% of the total loans granted to over one million customers by banks were at interest rates considerably below 20% per annum.

(READ MORE: N200 billion Unclaimed Dividend: Securities dealers reject FG’s plan to manage fund)

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Bottom line

The MPC was quite optimistic and favorably disposed about the future impact of the disbursements from agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme of the sum of N92.90bn to 24,702 beneficiaries; Anchor Borrowers Program – N164.91bn disbursed to 954,279 beneficiaries; and COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility to household and SMEs, with the sum of N149.21bn to 316,869 beneficiaries.

READ: Nigeria imported over 55% of cooking gas consumed in October 2020

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