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9mobile Hires Strategist, Others for Market Share Expansion

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Juergen Peschel 9mobile CTO

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Three new appointments have been made by one of the leading telecommunications companies in Nigeria, 9mobile, as part of efforts to expand its share of the market.

In a statement issued on Monday, 9mobile said it has seen qualified professionals to fill the positions of Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Deputy Chief Technical Officer, and Director of Strategy within its senior management team.

In the statement, Nigeria’s most innovative and customer-centric telco said Mr Juergen Peschel has been appointed as the CTO, Mr Baqi Salihu as the Deputy CTO, and Mr Karn Gulati as the Director of Strategy.

The trio will lead decisions in line with current trends and strategic vision within their respective areas and will provide hands-on leadership in ensuring that the 9mobile plans are fully aligned and structured to deliver its business goals.

As CTO, Mr Peschel, an experienced professional with an international executive track record within the IT, Managed Services & Telecommunications Industry, including expertise in a wide variety of industry verticals and markets, will oversee the evolution and integration of the company’s technical functions.

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He has over 25 years of extensive international and operational experience as a technology and business leader.

Over the years, he has led Information Technology teams, built VAS Services, IP, and transport networks for Vodafone across all European markets, and engaged with emerging markets across the world for subsea, carrier, and satellite services. He successfully launched the mobile payment service Mpesa in Kenya.

On his part, Mr Salihu, as Deputy CTO, will support the CTO to drive technology decisions in line with current trends and align the technical and transformation initiatives of 9mobile.

He is a seasoned professional with over 18 years of Mobile Telecoms Engineering, Operations, RF Planning & Optimization and Digital Services experience. He led the Network QOS and Support Department of 9mobile as the Director Network Quality of Service since June 2018.

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Mr Salihu executed the LTE re-farm solution using 1800MHz spectrum, achieving wider mobile broadband coverage, slashing the number of sites, and reducing carbon emissions while ensuring high-quality data service. This project significantly reduced TCO, enhanced users’ mobile broadband quality of experience, increased brand value for 9mobile while saving about $152m in spectrum fees. He joined 9mobile in December 2008.

For Mr Gulati, the new Director of Strategy, he will be responsible for developing strategic, tactical, and operational initiatives.

He is a long-serving Management Consultant with over 12 years of experience in the telecom and technology sector.

The strategist has led Advisory services teams focusing on Telecom, Media & Technology (TMT) industry and has worked across India, Africa, and South East Asia for various telecom clients.

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He also took a break and founded a tech & food start-up during his entrepreneurial stint for three years. His accomplishments include programme management of large-scale projects, achieving operational excellence with digitization and process engineering, customer strategy, and greenfield launches.

In his remarks, the CEO of 9mobile, Mr Alan Sinfield, stated that, “9mobile remains fully committed to executing its business strategies with the help of a high-performing team of dedicated, hardworking employees.

“The collective knowledge, expertise, and experience that Juergen, Baqi, and Karn bring to the organisation further strengthen our business. It reinforces our position at the forefront of delivering excellent products and services to our over 13 million customers.

“These promotions continue to consolidate the leadership of our organisation and are evidence of the great career opportunities that employment with 9mobile offers.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Jobs/Appointments

Gebeya Targets Chunk of $1.5trn Freelancer Economy Industry

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Gebeya Amadou Daffe Becky Tsadik

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Though the global freelancer economy industry is estimated to worth $1.5 trillion, Africa only controls 1.4 per cent and according to data, North America accounts for over half of the total freelancers in the world, about 78 million, with $486 million going to tech freelancers.

But this is about to change as a pan-African source for freelance professional talent, Gebeya, is target a fair chunk of the pie.

In 2020, the company raised a $2 million seed investment co-led by Partech and Orange Ventures and followed by Consonance Investment Managers, to set up the machine for scale, fully automated and digitized.

On Monday, June 14, 2021, the firm announced the launch of its revamped marketplace, the first of its kind in terms of reach in Africa. Prior to investment, Gebeya operated mostly a manual non-scalable marketplace model.

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As experts project, freelancers will constitute 80 per cent of the workforce by 2030 andGebeya’s vision is to unlock the power of the skilled workforce on the continent and increase the number of innovative startups leading the helm of digital transformation.

The Gebeya Marketplace boasts of an intelligent matching algorithm that considers location, language, and budget, an automated matching for a seamless experience on a single dashboard and the ability to create a profile and request talent at no cost.

Also, the platform has an option to hire individual talent with specialized skills or build a core team, a dedicated Account Representative, a smooth handling of administrative and finance processes, and an access to a diverse pool, ready to work remotely.

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Visitors to the Gebeya Marketplace are matched with freelancers from a carefully curated pool, trusted by multinational telecommunications companies like Orange, as well as e-commerce startups such as Limestart, and logistics startup Paps.

“It’s time for businesses to leverage the sharp skills and fresh perspective that freelancers infuse into a permanent workforce,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-founder of Gebeya.

“Africa doesn’t have a talent deficiency, it has a matching problem and that is what Gebeya is seeking to address through the deployment of a true Pan-African freelance marketplace,” he added.

“Freelancers are part of a smart, agile hiring strategy. We plan to expand our pool of skilled freelance talent to 15,000 within the next 3 years,” noted Amadou.

Since its inception, Gebeya has played an integral role in aggressively moving the needle forward, bringing Africa’s competitiveness to the forefront of the global digital and technical landscape. New features on the platform will connect businesses with talent in minutes.

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Demand for African talent on the Gebeya platform is Pan-African, from East to West Africa – and reaches as far as the EU and the US, as its quality and calibre is comparable to freelancers in those markets. Clients are only matched with talents who have successfully passed vetting, testing, and an interview. Freelance talents possess experience in exploding sectors like fintech, healtech, agritech, and logistics & supply chains, meaning individual entrepreneurs, startups, and large enterprises alike will benefit.

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Nigerian Oil Workers Threaten to Shut Down Chevron

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Shut Down Chevron

By Adedapo Adesanya

Some oil workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have threatened to disrupt oil field operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited.

The Nigerian oil workers, through its joint executive union, NUPENGASSAN, threatened this action following the refusal of the company to meet its 14-day ultimatum issued to address their demands.

In a letter addressed to the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Chevron Nigeria Limited, the aggrieved employees alleged the energy firm of inhumane treatment of three of their members.

“The inhuman treatment meted out to the affected Nigerian workers is antithetical to all applicable laws of the federal government of Nigeria as well as other international laws that guide employment and the protection of the rights of workers.

“As a union, we are greatly disturbed by your disregard for due process the termination of the Nigerian workers,” a part of the letter read.

The union also raised dust over what it described as the unlawful disengagement of Bukola Sola Adebawo, James Ukachukwu and John Ayeni.

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The group noted that the firing of the three workers attached to IESL, Candid Oil and Expameadow was influenced by Chevron, which it claimed adopted new labour policies that were detrimental to contract labour workers and in contravention of labour laws, as well as in disregard of the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

And as a result, the Joint Executive Committee of NUPENGASSAN in Chevron issued a 14-day notice, demanding that the termination of the Nigerian workers be rescinded, warning that it would take all steps deemed necessary to protect the rights of the Nigerian workers.

But after the 14 days’ notice expired, Chevron and the contract companies refused to meet the demands of the union.

The group said the 10 major issues raised in their letter dated January 21, 2021, have remained unresolved despite several meetings and the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

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“Our findings revealed that the management has tactfully perfected the plans to casualize the contracts, moving present IEME maintenance labour contract personnel to a service contract on reduced pay which will be determined by the new service contractors.

“All personnel on the IEME maintenance labour contract will be forced to go home, and the new companies will provide new employees for the service contracts,” the unions said, adding that the company was also determined to short-change staff who were compelled to work from home in the payment of compensation for ergonomic tools.

“CNL through her labour contract companies has directed labour contract personnel working from home to provide receipts for ergonomic chairs and tables for them to compensate with N70,000.

“The ergonomic chair costs $1,250 in the market; therefore, we are demanding unconditionally N150,000 flat payments to all affected labour contract personnel working from home as compensation for ergonomic tools required to work safely at home,” the oil workers’ group said.

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The union said that what it found most troubling was the surreptitious move to casualise the labour force, adding that – “it has come to the notice of NUPENGASSAN JEC that management plans to change all the manpower contract (Labour Contracts) to service contracts as it is presently happening to – IEME, Xepameado, and Ykish contracts. The contractors that supply manpower to Chevron are being categorized as service contract while the jobs remain as labour jobs.”

“The plan to change all jobs to casual jobs is against the FML&E guidelines. It is only a contractor that supplies manpower and tools to the organization that can be categorized as a service contract! The JEC is demanding that all manpower contracts should be changed to a labour contract with immediate effect.”

In its latest letter, the union threatened to shut down Chevron oilfield operations without further notice if the company fails to take necessary steps.

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Buhari Appoints Ilelah as NBC Director-General

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Balarabe Shehu Ilelah

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A veteran broadcaster, Mr Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, has been appointed as the substantive Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Mr Ilelah was selected for the job by President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement issued on Friday by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the media aide to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.

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It was disclosed in the statement that the appointment of the new head of the broadcasting industry regulatory agency is for five years in the first instance.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Mr Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, a veteran broadcaster, as the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

“The Minister of Information and Culture, [Mr] Lai Mohammed, announced the appointment in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.

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“He said Mr Ilelah’s appointment is for a tenure of five years in the first instance,” the statement said.

Mr Ilelah is replacing Mr Armstrong Idachaba, who has occupied the position in an acting capacity for a while.

Mr Idachaba was recently in the eye of the storm when he directed all broadcast stations in the country to deactivate their Twitter accounts following the suspension of the social platform in the country by the federal government.

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