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NCC Plans Fresh Guidelines for Telecoms Sector

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telecoms sector

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that the telecoms sector should expect fresh guidelines and regulations on indigenous content, among others.

The Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, made this disclosure while speaking at the maiden edition of the Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (Piafo-001) on the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector last Friday.

Mr Dambatta said “with the constitution of the NODITS, the industry should expect new guidelines and regulations bothering on indigenous content, local manufacturing of telecom equipment, outsourcing of services, construction and lease of telecoms ducts, succession planning in the telecoms sector, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, as the need arises.”

The NCC boss explained that the Commission has already put in place “a standing licensing review committee” which is currently analysing all its licenses in an effort not only of modernizing them to reflect the current realities of technology and development, but also to consolidate, bundle or unbundle individual licenses or even create new licenses.

“In brief, the NITDA guidelines set out to introduce content requirements for all companies operating in the Nigerian ICT industry and to achieve a target of 50% local content in the industry.

“All ICT companies were also required to be registered under Nigerian entities with predominant Nigerian representation.

“The guideline is not restrictive but is aimed at encouraging local value creation for ICT companies.

“Focus areas of the guidelines include driving indigenous innovation, developing the local ICT industry and establishing intellectual property regulation and standards protection,” he stated.

Mr Danbatta said that due to the opportunities and challenges presented by the search for a balance for the regulator, there was a pressing need to find a middle ground between optimizing indigenous participation in ICT and maximizing the benefits of a globalized ICT ecosystem.

“For us in the commission, we agree with the notion that such a balance is achievable through purpose-driven policies that create an enabling environment towards local innovation, local participation, local job creation, local investment and local ownership.

“Collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a key mandate of the Commission under the NPPIC is periodic benchmarking with NITDA, our sister agency.

“In that regard, it is gratifying to note that sometime in 2013, NITDA introduced Guidelines on Nigerian Content Development for the ICT sector,” he stated.

Mr Danbatta also assured Nigerians of the commission’s commitment to realise the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for promoting indigenous content in the telecommunications sector as has been done in the agricultural and petroleum sectors to achieve our goals of significant participation, preservation of scarce foreign exchange and improving the lives of Nigerians.

“To ensure effective implementation of these objectives, we are developing a robust compliance monitoring and enforcement framework leveraging on existing mechanisms.

“We are spurred by the President’s words ‘we want Nigerians to play a major role in the design and manufacture of devices, in meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunications ecosystem of the country’.

“With advancements in technology, administrations have come to recognize the need for their indigenes to participate actively in exploitation and transformation of their resources into goods and services aimed at economic growth.

“Indigenous Content Policy is, therefore, any policy that encourages the development of indigenous skills, technology transfer, use of indigenous manpower and indigenous manufacturing.

“As we are all aware, the Federal Government has put in place very robust policy and legal framework for local content within the oil and gas sector. Similarly, the advent of local content in the Nigerian Telecoms sector is probably as old as the Nigerian telecoms revolution itself.

“The national telecommunications policy posited that the domestic production of telecommunications hardware and software is desirable for national development.

“It further states that the government shall encourage domestic production of telecommunications equipment, components and software to meet local and export demands.

“In giving legal backing to the above policy direction, the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 identifies, as one of its National Telecom Policy 2000 primary objects, the encouragement of local and foreign investments in the Nigerian communications industry,” Mr Danbatta said.

According to him, with the steady evolution of telecommunications in Nigeria, the industry and its infrastructure are appreciated as the infrastructure of infrastructures, positioned to drive growth and efficiency in every other sector (both private and public) by supporting the optimization of institutions and processes in the ecosystem.

“Accordingly, the development of effective local participation at all levels of the value chain becomes a sine-qua-non to the overarching national economic development and market success,” he added.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Investors Gain N1.09bn as NASD Share Price Rises 9.1%

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NASD Exchange

By Adedapo Adesanya

The unlisted securities market closed the last trading session of the week on a positive note after it appreciated by 0.18 per cent on the back of growth in the share price of NASD Plc.

Business Post reports that the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the bulls’ territory on Friday after it closed flat on Thursday.

NASD Plc was the major driver of the return of the bourse to the green region as its value went up during the session by N2.45 or 9.1 per cent to close at N26.99 per unit in contrast to N24.54 per unit it closed at the previous session.

As a result of this, the NASD unlisted security index (NSI) moved up by 1.32 points to 745.44 points from 744.12 points, while the market capitalisation gained N1.09 billion to wrap the day at N615.86 billion in contrast to the previous day’s N614.77 billion.

On the activity chart, there was an improvement as the trading volume surged by 34,985.6 per cent because of the 2.3 million units of shares exchanged by market participants compared with the 6,688 units transacted at the previous session.

In the same vein, the trading value rose by 17,680.6 per cent to N63.4 million from the previous day’s N356,563.60, while the number of deals witnessed a 100 per cent rise as investors carried out 12 deals compared to the six deals executed at the previous session.

At the close of trades, Food Concepts Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 11.4 billion units of its shares worth N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Service Plc followed with 1.1 billion units valued at N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc was in third place with 1.0 billion units worth N700.1 million.

Food Concepts Plc was also the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, trailed by Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc with 456.4 million units valued at N9.2 billion, VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.

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Economy

Naira Trades N414.73/$1 as Cryptos Bleed Heavily

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Cryptos

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market by 0.02 per cent or 7 kobo on Friday, December 4.

Data showed that the local currency was sold for N414.73/$1 at the investors’ window yesterday compared with the N414.80/$1 it traded on Thursday.

At the final trading session of the week, the turnover was $103.01 million as against $139.67 million achieved at the preceding session, indicating a $36.66 million or 26.62 per cent decline.

Also, the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States currency recorded a movement on Friday, though downward as the Nigerian currency depreciated by 4 kobo as it closed at N411.74/$1 versus the preceding day’s N411.70/$1.

The local currency, however, appreciated by N2.17 against the British Pound Sterling to settle at N546.26/£1 compared to N548.43/£1 it traded at the previous trading session and 57 kobo against the Euro to trade at N465.68/€1 compared to the preceding day’s N466.25/€1.

At the cryptocurrency market, investors counted a heavy loss as the new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron and hawkish comments by the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates have raised serious concerns, causing cryptos to bleed heavily.

The heaviest loss was suffered by Dash (DASH), which plunged by 35.3 per cent to sell for N66,595.85. Ripple (XRP) depreciated 30.6 per cent to trade at N381.85, while Litecoin (LTC) sold for N66,595.85 after declining by 24.1 per cent.

Dogecoin (DOGE) went down by 22.7 per cent to sell at N90.29, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 20.8 per cent to N652.82, Bitcoin (BTC) depleted by 16.9 per cent to quote at N26,800,504.20, Ethereum (ETH) equally saw a 16.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N2,100,100.39, Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 12.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N218,577.24, Tron (TRX) went down by 12.7 per cent to trade at N48.00, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) recorded a 0.1 per cent marginal loss to sell for N554.76.

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Economy

Crude Mixed as Market Remains Unsettled by Omicron Jitters

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Crude Oil Prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude prices closed mixed on Friday, December 3 after erasing earlier big gains on growing worries that rising coronavirus cases and a new variant could reduce global oil demand.

Brent crude gained 21 cents or 0.3 per cent to trade at $69.88 per barrel while on the other hand, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 24 cents or 0.36 per cent to sell at $66.26 per barrel.

Both benchmarks declined for a sixth week in a row for the first time since November 2018.

Oil prices had witnessed one of the most troubled weeks as the market reeled from the fear brought about by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus with speculations that it could spark new lockdowns and dent fuel demand.

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to vaccinate their people to fight the virus, saying travel curbs were not the answer.

Even with this, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) surprised the market on Thursday when it stuck to its plans to add 400,000 barrels per day supply in January.

However, it said it will continue to monitor the market and this could make it change course if demand suffered from measures to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The alliance said they could meet again before their next scheduled meeting on January 4.

Analysts noted that with the coronavirus cases rising, the US jobs report for November also didn’t help demand outlook even as the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2 per cent, suggesting the country’s labour market was rapidly tightening.

US employment growth slowed considerably in November amid job losses at retailers and in local government education.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, diplomats attempting to restore the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers face substantial challenges that need urgent solutions, the top European envoy said Friday. Talks are set to resume next week.

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