By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) has threatened to seal up the business premises of M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited in Abuja over failure to pay N1.3 billion debt allegedly owed for the lease of telecommunication ducts network in the nation’s capital city.
The ultimatum given by the Authority to M/S Globacom Nigeria to pay up or have its premises sealed up had since August 12, 2021, elapsed, according to a statement from the FCDA Board.
The statement on Friday explained that the telecommunications duct network in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is one of the underground infrastructures provided to house the telecommunications industry.
Each and all telecommunications providers are allowed to lease ¼ duct space in the city at a token.
It noted that over the years, many telecommunications service providers have leased the various length of telecommunications duct in the FCT spanning across the developed districts of the Federal Capital City (FCC), of which one of such lessees is M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited with a commencement date of 2004.
However, Globacom was said to have over the years defaulted in the renewal of the “lease rate” in the agreement entered with the Authority.
As of date, Globacom’s indebtedness to the Authority stands at N1,337,441,027.60 and all efforts made to recover this debt have failed and every attempt to get M/S Globacom Nigeria Limited to reason with FCDA and make payments have yielded no positive results.
FCDA noted that it was resorting to this approach due to Globacom’s nonchalant attitude towards the reconciliatory efforts made by the Authority and the company’s failure to respond to the series of reminders and warning letters sent to it.
It was noted that on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, the board members, alongside the key management team of the FCDA, picketed the business premises of M/S Globacom Nigeria in Abuja to drive home the expiration of the ultimatum earlier given by the Authority.
Speaking during the exercise, the Acting Executive Secretary of the FCDA, Zaliha’u Ahmed, noted that, “We have put in a lot of resources to give them facilities and services to carry out their businesses.
“We maintain these telecom ducts with a lot of funds from the government. However, they are unwilling to cooperate by not paying the charges they are supposed to pay. So, in view of that, we are trying to see how we can as much as possible recover our funds.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of Finance and General-Purpose Committee of the FCDA Board, Mr Hussaini Monguno stated that, “if they don’t pay the debt, we know what to do. They have signed an agreement and the content of the agreement is very rich. We can do quite a lot. We can seal up this place, we can disconnect them.”
He added Globacom is not the only Private Telecoms Operator (PTO) that is owing FCDA, but quite a number of them have settled their bills.
“FCDA has given you an enabling environment to operate your business. They constructed telecommunication ducts for which your fibre cables are laid. You must pay for those services.
“We have written, we have called for reconciliation, nothing was done. We are just here to identify their infrastructure and do the needful. You will hear from us very soon,” he added.
Highest Percentage of Women Entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa—Report
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.
As a result of the rising rate of women entrepreneurs in the region, Visa is expanding its global She’s Next initiative to empower women entrepreneurs on the continent, bringing practical insights and valuable tools needed to grow and advance their businesses.
The initiative comprises a series of programs giving women entrepreneurs access to insights via research and engagement with small businesses, private and public sector communities and educational resources. She’s Next, empowered by Visa, will also bring networking opportunities in partnership with She Leads Africa; a community of over 700,000 women entrepreneurs, and lastly financial support and solutions to enable digital capability.
To coincide with the launch, Visa has unveiled new research titled Understanding Women Owned SMEs, which explores the role of technologies including digital payments in enabling the business success of female entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.
The research highlights the top business challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the impact of COVID-19 on these businesses and how digital payments have accelerated business growth in over 80% of the businesses surveyed.
Commenting, Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, stated that, “According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.
“We aim to encourage and enable even more participation of women in driving the economy, through our She’s Next initiative,” says Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “Our research shows that female-led businesses face unique challenges throughout their entrepreneurial journey, and we are committed to helping these business owners across Africa to identify opportunities for growth.”
As one of the largest electronic payment networks in the world, Visa provides products, services and programs that go beyond payment tools to deliver the value of Visa’s network by helping small businesses to be more competitive today and in the future.
Visa believes that economies that include everyone, uplift people everywhere and it focuses every day on enabling access to digital commerce for both buyers and sellers. For small businesses, Visa is taking steps to address the access gap and be a payments network that truly works for everyone.
Lagos Eyes PPP to Bridge Infrastructure Gap
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Efforts would be made to work with the private sector to deliver projects that are of immense long-term impact on the residents of Lagos State, the Director-General of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the state, Mr Ope George, has assured.
Mr George, who admitted that there was an infrastructure gap in Lagos State like in most states of the federation, emphasised that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was committed to bridging this gap by taking advantage of the people-friendly PPP model to deliver projects that impact Lagosians positively.
According to him, his office was working tirelessly to engage private investors to bridge infrastructure gap in critical sectors such as transportation, health, traffic management, and housing development.
Speaking during a media interview, the DG stated that the state government was delivering infrastructure that are visible and such that people can get immediate value for them.
He further stated the resolve of the state government to shorten the delivery time-frame of projects and policies that affect the people directly; while being creative, innovative and ensuring diversification in delivering people-friendly PPPs to the good people of Lagos State.
Mr George cited Awa Bike, a bike-share scheme in partnership with Awa Bike Limited, as one of the numerous PPP initiatives.
“This non-motorised transport initiative is in tandem with the resolve of the Lagos State Government to tackle traffic congestion in the state.
“Rapid urbanisation is a major challenge in most cities across the world; so, the vision of this government is to make commuting in and around the megacity less stressful and to bring down the cost of transportation.
“Another benefit of Awa Bike is that it promotes good health and environmentally friendly. It is also very affordable,” he said.
He also said the ultra-modern Medical Park, which the state government is constructing in Ikoyi, as a centre of medical excellence with state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, as well as the Maternal and Child Care Centres in Ajah, Eti Osa and Alimoso, equipped with modern facilities using the people-friendly PPP model, were also among the impact projects embarked on by the government.
In the aspect of transportation, Mr George stated that through the partnership with Artezia, a technology company with speciality in the traffic management systems, the state government has strengthened enforcement of responsible driving with the deployment of technology devices that capture processes and stores traffic violation data as well as billing payment for vehicle inspection solution for traffic offenders.
He added that the construction of units of houses at Ilubirin Housing Estate and student hostels at the Lagos State University (LASU) were also some of the quick-wins, people-friendly projects that the state government was undertaking for the betterment of the lives of residents of the state.
Nigeria Customs Seeks Help to Combat Crime
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
In order to effectively tackle the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stressed the need for synergy amongst sister agencies.
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Hameed Ali, emphasized this while speaking at a strategic convergence of security experts at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
The meeting, which was aimed at proffering solutions to the insecurity threats tormenting Nigeria, saw the participation of 43 Senior Executive Course, held in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.
Represented at the event by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, the CGC noted that, “To contend with the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, especially with the rising tide in terrorist activities and bandits across the country,” all the security agencies need to collaborate.
“Customs has been making tremendous efforts to reposition the policy implementation nomenclature for enhanced operational efficiency,” he added.
Mr Ali explained that in spite of the commitment of customs towards bringing about peace and security, the emergent security threats were still potent enough which calls for additional strategies to mitigate.
Speaking as a guest lecturer, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Ahmed Audi, also stressed the importance of synergy, adding that there was no other better time to put collaborative efforts than now for peace to reign in the country.
He said, “Nigeria is facing asymmetric war, which is a very serious conflict and if asymmetric war has dealt with other countries and held them for one or two decades, Nigeria is not an exception and the only way is to face this head-on.”
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