Recent news reports that the Federal Government has launched a new National Broadband Plan for 2020-2025 in order to promote the dynamics of the Nigerian Digital Economy.
The launch targeted at achieving 90% broadband penetration by 2025 was inaugurated by the President himself and is in progress at the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy Complex in Abuja. The mandate, however is perceived as difficult in terms of actualization giving the current state of telecoms and broadband infrastructure in the country.
Over the next five years, the government is also planning on connecting all tertiary institutions in the country to the internet. The plan includes a 50 percent reach for secondary schools and 25% for primary schools ensuring that these institutions are located within five kilometers of fibre infrastructure or fixed connection.
The plan also highlights that one general or major hospital per local government area as well as Federal medical centers across the country would have access to internet connectivity. Telecommunication industry stakeholders will increase internet download speed from a minimum of three megabytes per second to 25 megabytes per second in urban areas this year and by 2025 will be delivering a minimum of 10mbps in rural areas.
(READ MORE: A Post-COVID Economy)
President Muhammed Buhari urged mobile network operators to ensure full attainment of the targets set in the new National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 by giving special attention to the unserved and underserved areas when deploying telecom services.
Although there were expressed concerns about the challenges faced by operators in the country, particularly with the vandalism of telecommunications equipment, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami was directed to work with all relevant government agencies to ensure full protection of critical national infrastructure.
With the relentless commitment of the Federal Government in ensuring that all stake holders have the right environment to ensure the successful implantation of the broadband plan, there could be potentially relevant gains to the Nigerian economy in its entirety.
It is no wonder why governments around the world increasingly view broadband as the “fourth utility” alongside water, heating and electricity, many are implementing comprehensive nationwide plans, as well as more tightly focused broadband programs similar to this.
What we stand to gain?
- The power of broadband has been confirmed by recent research, showing that broadband fosters GDP growth, creates jobs and stimulates innovation, while also enabling improvements in education, health care, and other social services. When combined with strategies that ensure the availability and affordability of ICT, these efforts help countries reap the benefits of broadband more quickly and make these services affordable for citizens.
- Increased broadband access associated with higher productivity. The rural areas are underserved by fast unlimited broadband services. Enhancing connectivity with a plan like this can broaden their employment base beyond traditional industries, individual benefits with more job opportunities and communities benefit from higher employment while nations benefit form communities being self-sufficient.
- Affordable and improved broadband access can improve the economies of rural areas that way driving up incomes, improving lifestyles, and reducing the need and desire to move to cities hence decongesting these already overcrowded cities.
To conclude, a higher broadband reach has the transformational power to boost local economies, lift communities out of poverty, and provide a better outlook for growth.
Floods disrupt operations in Flour Mills’ Sugar Estate
Heavy floods at Flour Mills’ Sunti Golden Sugar Estate has disrupted its operations.
Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE), owned by Flour Mills, has suffered some disruptions to its operations as floodwater breached the Sugar Estate.
This information was gathered by Nairametrics from a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the Company’s Secretary, Umolu Joseph A. O.
The largest miller by market capitalization, explains that the floods were as a result of the long rainfalls recorded recently at the northern and central parts of the Niger basin, as the floods were triggered by severe downpours at the Sokoto Rima basin, and as a consequence, the Kainji and Jeba dams witnessed an upsurge in the lateral flow of water.
The Management stated that SGSE has suffered some disruptions to operations, as the resulting high inflows in the downstream Niger River caused a breach to the extensive and properly designed dyke systems at Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE).
This development is expected to delay the expansion project, geared towards increasing the area under cultivation to 4,000 hectares by mid-2021.
The Miller assures stakeholders, that there is no immediate threat to the earlier indicated earnings projections of FMN, as immediate safety protocols have been instituted to safeguard employees, property and equipment. Hence the breach is not foreseen to impact the overall performance of the Group.
The company informs investors and other key stakeholders that the actual state of damage to the current sugarcane crop at Sunti, can only truly be assessed once the floodwater subsides, and ensures that it will release further details in due course as the need arises.
Shares of Flour Mills at the end of the trading session on Friday closed at N21.50, and this is 6.70% higher than the market opening price for the day, 8.59% higher than the market opening price for the week, and 14.36% higher than the market opening price for the month. While the YTD gains stood at 9.14%.
Flour Mills shares are currently trading in the overbought zones, going with the agreement of Technical Momentum Indicators, like the William Percentage Range, the Relative Strength Index and its stochastic variant, as the shares of the company are driven by strong fundamentals.
In like manners, the company shares currently trade at 21.15x earnings per share (EPS), and 0.57x book value per share (BVPS), with a Market capitalization of N81.628 billion.
Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike
All aviation workers are directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide on 28th September 2020.
Major aviation unions in Nigeria have threatened to shut the nation’s airspace in support of the Organised Labour nationwide industrial action expected to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.
The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.
This was disclosed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Aviation Employees, Aba Ocheme, in a statement, according to Vanguard.
The unions reportedly asked their members to withdraw services from all aerodromes nationwide indefinitely.
He said, “As such all workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions. All workers shall comply.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday also insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.
In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.
The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.
Ugboaja explained that the NLC has asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.
Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.
It would be difficult to find loans to finance rail to Niger Republic – Cheta Nwanze
Finding loans to finance rail to the Niger Republic would be difficult, says Cheta Nwanze.
Cheta Nwanze, Lead Partner at socioeconomic research firm, SBM Intelligence, says that it would be difficult to find loan financiers for the proposed $1.9 billion rail project from Kano to Maradi in Niger republic.
Cheta, in an interview with Nairametrics on Friday, explained that it appears that Nigeria is more keen on the project than Niger Republic.
Back story: Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic.
According to the report, the President is also expected to commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo, and Delta States.
“Nigeria is investing so much in this rail line, given that we are Niger’s 4th largest trading partner,” Cheta said.
He added that Niger, although being landlocked already, has an existing infrastructure for its imports and export services, which is much better utilized than Nigeria’s export infrastructure.
“The majority of their imports from France, China, and the USA come in via the port of Lome, precisely because the port in Lome works, and the rail link in Togo is much better than ours.
“Nigeria, on the other hand, has let its Apapa port to become a wreck, while transportation between Lagos and Kano/Jibia is a nightmare, if we’re being charitable with words.”
According to him, with the reality of the Apapa congestion and other factors, finding fund for such project, when debt to service ratio is high and amidst reduced oil revenue, will be difficult.
“With these realities in mind, I find it difficult to imagine who will extend such a loan to Nigeria, especially since, as far as all the information available to me indicates, Niger does not seem as keen on pushing this as Nigeria does,” he added.
However, the media aide to President Buhari, Garba Shehu, disclosed that the Federal Government is not constructing a rail line from Nigeria linking Kano-Dutse-Maradi into the Niger Republic, as it will only stop at the designated border point.
Maradi is 55km from the Katsina border Town of Jibia.