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 have increased significantly to a peak of 82.7 million.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made this disclosure while speaking at a two-day first virtual Nigeria Innovation Summit (NIS) 2020 organized by InnovationHub Africa, which started on Tuesday, September 5, 2020.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who presented the keynote speech at the Summit, noted that Nigeria’s quest to become a truly digital economy is on course with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in November 2019.
At the summit, themed: ‘Innovating in Critical Times’, Danbatta said the Commission has increased broadband penetration rate from less than 6% in 2015 to 43.30 percent by August 2020 which translates to 82, 653,247 broadband subscriptions in the country.
The NCC boss who was ably represented at the virtual conference by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Danbatta said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and specifically, broadband infrastructure has become the major backbone for government activities and local businesses.
He further said that such services require fast broadband and reliable connectivity, noting that NCC will continue to work assiduously with its stakeholders, in ensuring that the nation’s ICT infrastructure is able to meet the increased demand for connectivity occasioned by the pandemic.
According to Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, “The NCC has been the major linkage in the drive for optimum economic development, as it remains the pioneer for all the major disruptions that would drive the nation’s economic reboot, especially the financial systems riding on electronic innovations. These innovations are driven by the availability of a robust communications infrastructure, made possible by the Commission’s continuous quest for investment in the sector.”
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic Data
He further stated that for innovation to thrive, as the anchor for accelerating economic growth post-COVID-19, a robust broadband infrastructure upon which ICT innovations will ride is a necessity. He said, “The most important outcome of COVID-19 for us, as a nation striving for the digital economy, is the need to continue to invest in infrastructure development in critical sectors of the economy, particularly the ICT sector, which has become the bastion of modern economies,”
Dr. Adinde restated the NCC’s commitment to taking proactive steps toward stimulating investment needed to support more robust and resilient broadband infrastructure, that will spur digital innovations in the country.
Buhari orders MDAs to grant FIRS access to their systems
Buhari has directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for a seamless connection.
President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that he has directed all government agencies to grant the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, access to its system for effective service delivery.
The President also stated that the FIRS fully deploying automation is in line with international best practices.
This was disclosed by the President in a social media statement on Thursday.
“We must use technology to plug all revenue loopholes,” Buhari said.
“To this end, I have directed all government agencies and business enterprises to grant FIRS access to their systems for seamless connection. FIRS must fully deploy automation, in line with international best practices,” he added.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that the FIRS announced that it generated N4,952,243,711,728.37 as tax revenue in the 2020 fiscal year. This is about 98% of the tax target of N5.076 trillion that was set for the FIRS by the Federal Government.
- The FIRS also announced the creation of 35 new Tax Audit Units to combat illicit financial flow across the country.
World Bank Group to deploy $160 billion for COVID-19 interventions
The Bank expects to deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months through June 2021 to support countries’ responses to COVID-19.
The World Bank Group would be deploying to the tune of $160 billion over 15 months through June 2021 for COVID-19 interventions, according to its 2020 Annual report.
According to the report:
- The interventions would be through a series of new operations, the restructuring of existing ones, the triggering of catastrophe drawdown options, and support for sustainable private sector solutions that promote restructuring and recovery.
- “The World Bank deployed the first set of projects under this facility in April, aimed at strengthening health systems, disease surveillance, and public health interventions. To soften the economic blow, IFC and MIGA moved quickly to provide financing and increase access to capital to help companies continue operating and paying their workers”.
- International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of World Bank Group expects to provide $47 billion in financial support through June 2021 as its part of the Bank Group’s response.
- “In its initial package, IFC is providing $8 billion to help companies continue operating and sustain jobs during the crisis. This package will support existing clients in vulnerable industries, including infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, and services, and provide liquidity to financial institutions so they can provide trade financing to companies that import and export goods and extend credit to help businesses shore up their working capital”.
What you should know
- The focus of the interventions would be on investing in prevention, remaining engaged in crisis situations, protecting human capital, and supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including forcibly displaced populations.
- The second phase of the IFC’s interventions is intended to support existing and new clients using its Global Health Platform, which aims at increasing access to critical health care supplies, including masks, ventilators, test kits, and, eventually, vaccines. This also includes financing to manufacturers, suppliers of critical raw materials, and service providers to expand capacity for delivering products and services to developing countries.
- IFC expects to contribute $2 billion from its own account, as well as mobilize an additional $2 billion for private sector partners.
- Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), on its own part, formally launched a $6.5 billion fast-track facility towards its interventions to the private sector investors and lenders to tackle the pandemic in low- and middle-income countries.
- The various interventions by both IFC and MIGA complement the World Bank’s broad-based efforts in ensuring the preservation of the global supply chains, particularly for the production and distribution of vital medical supplies.
- The World Bank as well IMF have intervened to call for the suspension of bilateral debt payments from the International Development Association(IDA) countries to ensure that countries have the liquidity needed to grapple with the challenges posed by the outbreak and allow for an assessment of their financing needs.
According to the World Bank President, David Malpass, “Debt relief is a powerful, fast-acting measure that can bring real benefits to the people in poor countries.”
CDC Group pledges $1 billion investment in Nigeria and other African countries
CDC Group has pledged a $1 billion investment in strategic areas in Africa that includes Infrastructure, climate projects and finance.
CDC Group, a UK owned development finance institution has announced its plans to invest the total sum of $1 billion in critical sectors in Nigeria and other African countries.
According to a disclosure by Bloomberg Africa, the areas of focus this year will be key sectors such as; infrastructure, climate projects and finance. The Group is also part of a consortium considering a bid for a new telecommunication license in Ethiopia.
Recall that Nairametrics had earlier reported plans by the CDC group to invest $245 million in 100 Nigerian businesses, with an estimated direct impact on 38,000 jobs in the country.
What they are saying
Commenting on the recent development, the Chief Executive Officer of CDC, Nick O’Donohoe as quoted by Bloomberg Africa, said that the group will target markets such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria, while also considering putting money into more remote, frontier locations.
He said: “The two areas we will be particularly focused on this year are accelerating our climate-related” and technology-based investments. In addition to that, we are a big investor in infrastructure and will continue to be.”
Why this matters
Given the negative impact of the pandemic on most African economies, a 2020 World Investment report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicted that Investment flows in Africa contracted by 25% to 40% in 2020. Therefore, the $1billion pledge is a major boost in resuscitating economic activities, shoring up Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and driving development in the continent.
What you should know
- According to the CEO of the CDC Group, Nick O’Donohoe, CDC has invested more than £2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) in Africa over the past three years.
- Mr. O’Donohoe also revealed that the CDC had earlier entered into a partnership with Vodafone Group Plc and Sumitomo Group to bid for a mobile-phone license in Ethiopia as part of the country’s partial privatization of the economy.