The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has had negative effects on the global economy, leaving governments, corporate bodies, and individuals wriggling in unexpected hardship and inconveniences.
In Nigeria, many organisations and billionaires have contributed towards cushioning the effects of the pandemic, and telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria Plc, is not left out. The telco has introduced new packages to support efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
This was contained in a press statement issued, sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by the company and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.
In the statement, the board, management and staff of MTN Nigeria and the MTN Foundation assured their customers of the company’s commitment to do everything possible to help them stay connected.
The telco recognizes the fact that this is an extraordinary time and it is important that people stay connected to those they love. MTN Nigeria said it would focus internally on its systems, processes and structures in order to ensure that the services it provides remain available to its customers.
Despite the unprecedented pressure and increased level of demand on its network, MTN is collaborating with the regulator, policymakers and other telcos to increase and sustain the capacity where it is most needed.
Some of the measures/packages introduced by MTN as a show of support to the government and its customers are:
- partnering with Nigerian Centre Disease Control (NCDC) and providing its staff with access to voice and data services, telephones and toll-free lines in order to coordinate their response.
- supporting government at the federal and state levels with communication systems, analytical response management and risk profiling. These tools will enhance the capacity and preparedness of each state to manage the outbreak proactively.
- dedicating a channel that will help in the distribution of health information to all their subscribers.
- providing subscribers with up to 300 free SMS messages per month and suspending transaction fees for all money transfers using the MoMo agent network.
- providing all SME customers of its enterprise business with one less thing to worry about. There will be 30 days of grace on their March invoices. SMEs that are unable to pay March invoices will enjoy uninterrupted services through April. This grace period is aimed at mitigating the impact of the shutdowns on small businesses which are the engine of our economy.
- commitment of N500 million by MTN Foundation towards addressing emerging medical needs.
The Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Ernest Ndukwe, in his statement, said, “The threat that COVID-19 represents to Nigeria requires an unprecedented response from the public and the private sector. We must all work together to develop and deliver the solutions that will allow us to contain this threat and protect the most vulnerable in our communities across the country.”
It must be noted that MTN had earlier in support of the national effort to contain the coronavirus, supported the federal and state governments with communication systems, over N500 million worth of airtime, data and analytics. The company also supported medical personnel with over N1.4 billion worth of airtime, data and devices for connectivity, and some others.
Lagos commences enforcement against building collapse, substandard materials
The state government has moved to actualize its vision of zero tolerance for building collapse.
The Lagos State government said that it has commenced aggressive enforcement against quackery in construction to end building collapse in the state as it called for the support of building professionals.
This is as the state government has moved to actualize its vision of zero tolerance for building collapse.
This disclosure was made by the General Manager of Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), Mr Olufunsho Elulade, at its inaugural stakeholders’ conference with the theme, ‘Construction, Material Quality Control and Assurance in Lagos State, on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Elulade identified the use of substandard building materials and lack of adherence to quality assurance standards as the major causes of building collapse in the state.
He said the agency will immediately start standard enforcement in the building construction value chain to ensure the use of the right materials.
Elulade said, “We are, hereby, using this medium to state the terms of operations with all our stakeholders across the state; we want to partner with you to move the state forward in order to have safer Lagos for the benefit of all.’’
He emphasized the importance of doing away with the menace of quackery, substandard materials and corruption in the construction sector.
The LSMTL boss outlined the various services offered by its laboratory which includes soil tests, water quality assessment, calibration, destructive and non-destructive tests, among others.
While launching the new logo of the agency, Elulade, pointed out that it was a strategy to eliminate quacks and private laboratories using the agency’s old logo to impersonate its operations and mislead the public.
Also, the Public Relations Officer, Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Lagos Branch, Mr Olusesanayo Philip said the institute would sustain its public sensitisation campaign adding that the institute was also partnering with LSMTL to sensitise the public on the need to engage professional builders to tame the monster of building collapse in Nigeria.
What this means
The enforcement against quackery and the use of substandard materials in the construction value chain by the Lagos State government will come as a huge relief to residents and a boost to its fight against building collapse.
There have been numerous building collapse incidents in various parts of the state with attendant human casualties, due to the use of substandard materials or non-compliance with the state’s building planning laws and standards.
Burger King to open first outlet by Q4 2021- Franchisee
Burger King is expected to employ about 6,000 people (direct and indirect) in Nigeria between 2021 and 2026.
Burger King, an American multinational hamburger fast food chain, is expected to start its operations in Nigeria by the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.
The company is also expected to employ about 6,000 people (direct and indirect) in the country between 2021 and 2026, other things being equal.
These were disclosed by Antoine Zammarieh, the Franchisee of Burger King in Nigeria and Managing Director, Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited, in an interview with Nairametrics on Tuesday.
He said, “Burger King will start operations by Autumn, i.e between September and November 2021. We have set up the Quality Control unit and have met some of our local suppliers to seal the deal. Also, we have sent some of the ingredients to America to test quality.
As a company, we are delighted to enter this new market being the largest country in Africa and are looking forward to serving our future guests with our world-famous Burger King meals.
Most importantly, our goal is to positively contribute to the economy by creating more jobs and employment opportunities. In five years, we hope to directly or indirectly employ between 5,000 and 6,000 people in Nigeria.”
Zammarieh added that the hamburger maker, in a show of interest in the Nigerian market, had signed a development agreement for the Nigerian market.
He explained that the development agreement of the chain in Nigeria, which was recently signed, would give more confidence to the Nigerian market and consumers in general, especially during these hard times.
What you should know
Nairametrics had reported, three weeks back, when Zammarieh said, “I always believed in Nigeria and in its people. I am confident this venture will go a long way and prove successful for Burger King, Nigeria, and our company.”
“I believe this will be a tremendous step towards giving more confidence to the Nigerian market and consumers in general.”
What to expect
The first outlet of the hamburger chain in Nigeria is expected to be launched in Lagos.
The Florida-based restaurant chain is set to join the likes of Dominos Pizza, Krispy Kreme, KFC, and Chicken Republic (pieXpress) in a stiff competition for market share and dominance in a saturated market, with hundreds of other traditional restaurant chains.
Burger King is expected to dig deep into its quiver of strategies to ensure an impressive performance and success in its first year of operation, as other players have been having it tough following their respective launches into the Nigerian market.
The COVID-19 pandemic however has affected the fast-food industry severely, as the disruption to the industry’s supply chain, especially the on-trade channel, which accounts for a significant percentage of restaurant sales, triggered declines in their profits in 2020.
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