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NLC, TUC suspend nationwide strike

Hike in electricity tariff to be suspended for 2 weeks, while new pump price of petrol remain unchanged.

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Ayuba Wabba, Why the FG should reverse 6% tenancy, lease stamp duty - NLC

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the planned nationwide strike and protest that was to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, over the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price.

This follows the agreement reached between the Federal Government and the organized labour during the meeting held by both parties which started on Sunday night and dragged on till the early hours of Monday morning.

The disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, through a tweet post on his twitter handle.

READ: Electricity tariff increase is suspended for 2 weeks

In the agreement between the Federal Government and organized labour, the hike in electricity tariff is to be suspended for a period of 2 weeks, while the new pump price of petrol is to remain unchanged.

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According to the agreement, which was seen by Nairametrics, both parties agreed to set up a technical committee on Electricity Tariff reforms, comprising Ministries, Agencies, Departments, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of 2 weeks with effect from Monday, September 28, 2020, to examine the justification of the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.

This is due to the conflicting field reports which appear different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC, metering deployment, challenges, timelines for massive rollout.

READ: FG earmarks $1.6 billion for sea-port construction 

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The technical committee is to be headed by the Minister of State for Labour and Labour, Festus Keyamo.

Other members of the committee include the Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba, Executive Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh, Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari as the Secretary.

Also in the committee are Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero (NLC), Chris Okonkwo (TUC) and a representative of electricity distribution companies.

READ: Aviation Unions threaten to shut airspace on Monday, as NLC insists on strike

The terms of reference for the technical committee include;

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  • To examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments.
  • To look at the different Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and their different electricity vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate.
  • Examine and advice government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the 6 million meters.
  • To look into the NERC act under review with a view to expanding its representation to include organized labour.

Explore Economic and Financial Data on the Nairametrics Research Website

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala close to being announced as new DG of WTO

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is expected to be announced as the new DG of the World Trade Organisation.

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WTO, Nigeria’s former finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala, gets IMF appointment

Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, is close to being appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

READ: Okonjo-Iweala gets Organised private sector’s endorsement for WTO job

According to Reuters, a group of ambassadors also known as “troika” has proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO giving her a clear path to becoming the first woman to head the WTO since it started 25 years ago. The three ambassadors are thought to wield significant powers in determining what is a very “intricate and opaque” process.

READ: Buhari assures Okonjo-Iweala that the country will push until she emerges WTO DG

Most Nigerian Media houses have already announced NOI as the winner of the process even though this is yet to be made official by the WTO.

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The winner for the role of DG of WTO is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.

Details later…

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Business Half Hour

How Evolve Credit aims to cover the credit gap in Africa – Akan Nelson

Akan Nelson, co-founder of Evolve Credit, talks about how loans have become accessible via the online market place.

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How Evolve Credit aims to cover the credit gap in Africa - Akan Nelson

Marketplaces all over the world have moved onlineand the same goes for the credit market. Things have moved from the times when one had to spend days visiting several banks and licensed lenders in search of suitable credit facilities, to the digital times where a mobile device provides all of that information and more within a short time. Among those pushing the envelope in the credit space in Africa is Evolve Credit, a tech startup that is well on its way to becoming a key player.  

Speaking during the weekly Nairametrics Business Half Hour on Classic FM, Akan Nelson, co-founder and CEO of Evolve Credit, explains that the business idea was birthed out of the realization that Africans needed an online marketplace where they could explore their best loan options, just like they did when shopping online.

READ: Bank’s Credit to Nigeria’s Real Estate sector hits 5-year low

Evolve Credit provides potential borrowers data to compare loan options, interest rates, repayment options, and other terms before deciding on the loan which best suits their needs, and then applying for it right away.  

“I realized quite early that there was a gap and an opportunity in Nigeria’s credit space and I wanted to play there, Akan recounted.  

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Even though about 36% of adults in Nigeria have access to some kind of savings or payment products, only about 5.5% of Nigerian adults have access to loan facilities – a gap that needs attention. 

READ: Demand for credit by household increases in Q2 2020 – CBN

Together with his co-founder, Daniel Osineye, Nelson built a lending app that allows people access loans at the Point of Sales (POS), and the process of running this business opened their eyes to an even bigger problem in the space. As the customer care agent, Nelson realized that when people had their loan applications, they immediately started asking for other loan options or other lenders.  

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Obviously, they cared less about what institution availed them the loan, and more about the credit option and accompanying terms. While trying to provide answers to their questions, Daniel realized that there was an information gap to be filled at the point of decision. Potential borrowers needed to understand the terms, the rates and other conditions attached, in order to make the right credit decisions and avoid getting locked in debt longer than planned.  

READ: TradeDepot raises $10 million in pre-Series B equity round

Evolve Credit thus evolved as a central point where people could get all the information needed on loans, right from their phones. It features loan products from hundreds of licensed lenders in the country, thereby providing a level playing field upon which they can all compete.  

“There are literally thousands of licensed lenders like the commercial banks, the microfinance banks, the finance houses, and the individual money lenders, and many of them have products that are better suited for many Nigerians than the ones we all hear on the radio, but they are not digitized so they cannot compete with a loan provider that is all over our mobile devices.  

READ: Konga now offering merchants loan at 2.08% interest rates

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“Evolve Credit provides the kind of technology on the backend that enables an offline lender, microfinance bank, finance house or individual money lender to essentially become a fintech overnight and automate every single step in the lending process – from receiving the loan applications, to ascertaining credit-worthiness, managing the loan portfolio, automating the payments disbursement and collection process – and this helps to actually facilitate a completely online loan application, from the market place to the lender, Nelson explained in the show.  

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After filling out a 3-minute form, the intending borrower can compare and review available options, send in an application within 10 minutes and receive feedback within 24 hours. 

READ: CBN Commences distribution of grants and inputs worth over N700 million to cocoa Farmers

How the money flows 

Evolve Credit works with a double-pronged revenue model. On the one hand, it provides feature software and tech facilities to lenders for a monthly subscription fee. On the other hand, it gets to charge a commission fee every time a loan application sent to the lender is approved, either based on a fixed fee or some revenuesharing formula.  

“To be specific, we leave that to them to decide which best suits their business needs. We are very flexible and we like to put our borrowers and our lenders first, he said 

READ: Distribution of loans under ACGSF declined by 31.62% in 2 years – NBS 

The idea that the process of applying for, receiving and paying back credit facilities can be done completely online, totally eliminates paper from the process.  

“It is a brand new category in Nigeria and our expectation is that in a few years, people should be able to access credit facilities from their phones, right from their homes, using the app, website or the USSD options and without interacting with a single human being, Nelson said.  

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READ: CBN announces new policy measures, reduces interest rates for financial institutions

Although some similar businesses have gone defunct in the past, Nelson is positive that Evolve Credit has learned from the mistakes of those companies and will be around for much longer, bringing value to the decision making process of getting a credit facility in Nigeria, and by extension Africa.  

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Within 5 months of operation, the company is still running a lean structure with less than 10 staff, all working remotely. After commencing operations in May 2020, both founders bootstrapped the venture for a short while, trying to engage investors.It happened very slowly at the start and then very quickly at the end. We were able to raise a couple hundred thousand dollars to allow us get things off the ground, he said. 

READ: How to access new CBN’s Non-oil Export Fund

Giving all the competing lenders a level playing field to operate in means that customers can now get better rates and loan terms, as each institution tries to outdo the other while competing on different terms 

“By making the market more transparent for borrowers, we should begin to see the emergence of new and more progressive kinds of financial products, since lenders will now have to compete on more subtle things, Akan stated 

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Why Twitter topped Facebook during police brutality protests that went viral

Despite Facebook having over half of Nigeria’s social media users, why was Twitter able to top in the championing of the #EndSARS protests?

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#EndSARS: Why Twitter topped Facebook during police brutality protests that went viral

Nigerian youths had been protesting for over 2 weeks, calling for an end to police brutality with the #EndSARS hashtag on numerous social media channels among which Twitter topped.

Nigeria has a median age of 17.9, and the Nigerian youths used their tech-savvy influence to draw international attention to the brutality on protesters. This escalated after reports of the Lekki shooting which has drawn widespread condemnation from international figures such as Rihanna, Kanye West, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Lewis Hamilton, Pope Francis, and many others.

READ: #EndSARS: NBC fines AIT, Channels and Arise TV over use of “unverifiable” footages

The #EndSARS movement dates back to 2017, when Nigerian youths used the hashtag to share their experiences on violence and assault perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). However, the movement only revived in early October, after a video emerged of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man.

(READ MORE: Instagram tenders apology for flagging #EndSARS posts as fake)

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This prompted Nigerian youths to troop to Twitter, calling on the Federal Government to dissolve the notorious police unit and effect police reform, with the hashtag, #EndSARS, #Endpolicebrutality, and many others. The hashtag trended continuously on Twitter as Nigerian youths aired their pains and experiences online.

As at the end of August 2020 and according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), subscriptions to broadband or high-speed internet services in Nigeria had increased significantly to a peak of 82.7 million. However, despite Facebook having over half of Nigeria’s social media usage, it has not had the pull of Twitter in championing the social justice causes. Why is that?

READ: Facebook’s new policy on political ads and threat to SMEs in Nigeria

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Which social media platform has more Nigerians?

According to Emmanuel Dan-Awoh, SEO Analyst at Nairametrics, Twitter only commands 21% usage of Nigeria’s 82 million internet subscribers. Facebook is leading with 55.94% while Instagram and Youtube are at 5.02% and 3.72% respectively.

“The platforms are built for certain types of communication and psychological states,” Dan-Awoh says.

For Nairametrics, which social media platform provides the most news leads?

The #EndSARS protesters had a unifying motto that they had “no leaders,”. This was seen in the decentralized nature of the protests across the country due to the fast-moving nature of news spread mainly on social media platforms.

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For Nairametrics, Twitter accounts for the most news leads from social media platforms despite more Nigerians using Facebook on a daily basis.

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READ: #EndSARS: Despite scrapping SARS, why are Nigerians still protesting?

“Twitter is by far the most useful social media platform for Nairametrics accounting for more than 90% of page views and visits,” Dan-Awoh says.

Young Nigerians are consuming information larger than ever before, thanks to the internet, with Twitter being the main platform for news sharing despite having only 21% of Internet users in Nigeria. It’s no wonder that most of the Nigerian youths who championed the #EndSARS protests are also in the same demographic that consume news on Nairametrics.

(READ MORE:#EndSARS Protest: FG denies monitoring calls and social media accounts)

Where does the Nigerian government communicate more?

Dan-Awoh says, the Federal government still communicates with Nigerians through traditional media, however, the usage of technology to pass information to citizens is growing, which can be witnessed through the popularity of media aides on Twitter including Bashir Ahmaad, Tolu Ogunlesi, and others.

“Official communication still leans more towards traditional media, but the use of social media by government agencies is growing while the use of traditional media is stagnating,” Dan-Awoh says.

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“Nigerians get the bulk of their news from social media channels and from google discover app” he adds.

(READ MORE:#ENDSARS Protests: Why this is different)

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So why Twitter?

“Twitter is the most effective channel for social movements because relationships on the platform are not personalized to fit with the real-life connections of its users,” Dan-Awoh says.

He added that Twitter isn’t for very personal connections compared to Facebook, and also gives its users more powers to control what goes on their news feed through the democratization and localization of trending topics, this gives users more information on their surroundings.

READ: #EndSARS: A day by day timeline of the protest that has brought Nigeria to its knees.

“The feed isn’t dictated by personal interests or contacts to the same extent as other platforms. The user also has more control over his Twitter feed due to the democratization of popular topics.

“ Twitter achieved this through Its trending vertical where the most popular topics within a locality are ranked. This serves to draw more people into a digital version of marketplace chatter. This enables the platform to be better suited for the nurturing of a herd mentality within the society. This is why Twitter as a platform is more socially and politically significant than its counterparts,” Dan-Awoh adds.

(READ MORE: Lagos to support owners of looted, vandalised stores)

Bottom line

Despite more Nigerians on Facebook, the Twitter platform makes the localization of news easier to share through its trending platforms, which gives young Nigerians a “concert view” perception on growing issues in the country. With a young population eager for information, it’s no wonder that News Media gets a lot of their leads from Twitter compared to Facebook as the news would be better shared on Twitter.

READ: #EndSARS: We were not hacked – CBN

The increasing popularity of government media aides, especially on Twitter is a sign that we may be heading to a new way of government communication with citizens through the internet.

However, Facebook should not be ignored in this as more Nigerians are now aware of how changes can be brought to social justice and may use whatever platform where they are heard to discuss vital issues.

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