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Ministers task DStv, MTN, others to offer free subscription, airtime, data to Nigerians

FG has urged DStv, Startimes, MTN, Airtel and other network providers to offer free services to Nigerian workers affected by the lockdown.



FG, Labour agree cut in electricity tariff for 3 months, to distribute 6 million free meters, SPW jobs, FG kickstarts its 774,000 jobs SPW initiative as Buhari backs Keyamo, FG urges DStv, MTN, others to offer free subscription, airtime, data to Nigerians

Some ministers of the Federal Government has urged DStv, Startimes, MTN, Airtel and other network providers to offer free services to Nigerians affected by the lockdown.

The request was made by the Minister of State, Labour & Employment, Festus Keyamo and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

Keyamo stated that Cable TV operators should suspend charging Nigerians for new subscriptions for one month as part of their contribution to ease the economic impact of the lockdown on workers in the country.

He made the recommendation via his Twitter handle, stating, “As one of the Ministers entrusted with the welfare of Nigerian workers, I politely urge @DStvNg & @StarTimes_Ng to extend all EXISTING subscriptions by at least one month, free-of-charge, as their own contribution to ease the pains of Nigerian workers at this time of lockdown.”


[READ MORE: COVID-19: President imposes lockdown on Lagos, Ogun, FCT)

Subscriptions for DStv and Startimes in Nigeria are renewed monthly, and with the next month (April) starting tomorrow, attention will be on the cable operators to see if Keyamo’s recommendation was considered or ignored.

Keyamo also implored the network providers to top-up the airtime and data of their subscribers. In Nigeria, MTN has 70 million subscribers, Glo 51 million, Airtel 49 million and 9mobile 13 million.

Burden of airtime and data cost: In order to ease the lockdown, Keyamo said, “I would also urge @MTNNG @9mobileng @AirtelNigeria @GloWorld to consider giving Nigerians some token airtime & data to ease their pains & to ensure that communication with individuals & authorities is ensured in cases of emergencies, especially when toll-free numbers are busy.”

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The Minister of Communication, Pantami also called for data cut, stating that the operators should subsidise and relax call and data cost.

Is it possible for these operators? This is not the first time the Nigerian government would urge telcos and cable tv operators like DStv to cut the cost of their subscriptions and data. This situation is, however, different, as workers and businesses are being affected economically.

READ MORE: MTN reports 23% rise in FinTech revenue to launch cash deposits and withdrawals

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The economic impact isn’t only affecting Nigerian workers, as the Coronavirus breakout is global. So if these operators are to offer free services to their subscribers in Nigeria, they will have to do the same for other countries also experiencing lockdown.

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If this is done, the companies might find themselves in a difficult financial situation that might affect salary payment to their staff. For a company like Vodafone, which recently announced free data for 30 days, the offer was limited to half a million of its ‘pay monthly customers’ and those with declared disabilities or mental health issues.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]



  1. Femi

    March 31, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I support you sir thanks for that it’s already been done in unite state and we have the money for it

    • Anonymous

      March 31, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      We are not in the United States, families are fed from proceeds of airtime, data and TV subscriptions in nigeria. Let phcn do the needful. Leave the SMEs alone.

  2. Anonymous

    March 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    please the power discos should also be implored to deliver more power.
    People are expected to work from home, no power, and limited resources to get fuel.

    Kindly escalate to authorities in charge.

  3. Nathan

    March 31, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    It’s just a bad joke. Why not tell PHCN to give 1 month free units to customers? Next joke please.

  4. Nathan

    March 31, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    We are not in the United States, families are fed from proceeds of airtime, data and TV subscriptions in nigeria. Let phcn do the needful. Leave the SMEs alone.

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Financial Services

CBN to bar exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from banking services

The CBN will from January 31, 2021 bar all exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from accessing banking services.



CBN to restrict foreign exchange on more food imports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the prohibition of all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.

The apex bank had in an earlier circular warned that failure to repatriate exports within 90 days for oil and gas and 180 days for non-oil exports constitute a breach of the extant regulation.

Analysts believe that the directive is part of a monetary control mechanism by policymaker to maintain relative stability in the exchange rate, especially after the pandemic created a wide disparity between the official exchange and the parallel market rates, eliminating incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges, etc.

In lieu of this, all concerned exporters are urged to comply with the directive before the specified date.

What you should know

  • According to Bloomberg sources, the new directive applies to exports up until June last year.
  • In a bid to ensure prudent use of foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier instructed authorised dealers and exporters to only open forms M for letters of credit, bills for collection and other forms of payment

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Financial Services

Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business

Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.



Edwin Igbiti

Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.

This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.

Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;

  • The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
  • Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
  • The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
  • A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.

In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.


What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.

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Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure

ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.



ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.

This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.

Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.

The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.

The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.


Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.

What they are saying

One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”

Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”

What you should know

  • Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
  • Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
  • Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
  • Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
  • February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
  • Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

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