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MTN Expands Connectivity to More Rural Areas

MTN Nigeria says it has been working with technology partners in order to achieve this ambitious goal.

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Telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria, on Tuesday announced it is extending its coverage to millions of Nigerians living in underserved and unserved communities across the country through a programme it calls “rural telephony”.

Today, more than 20 million Nigerians live in areas with limited or no coverage, MTN says it aims to change this statistic. Though the rural telephony programme kicked off this year, the company has identified over 3,000 locations across the country for a phased rollout, within three years.

MTN says 583 live rural sites have been installed across the country so far; more than half of these were installed in 2020 and they connect communities like Kurba, Agbiyi Umuede, Tobolo, Opaha, Tudun Faila, Oguru Uzo Uwani and Sarkin Kaya Rini. Going forward, MTN Nigeria plans to install more than 1,000 new sites every year in the next few years which will cover all the identified locations.

MTN Nigeria says it has been working with technology partners in order to achieve this ambitious goal. Certain infrastructure is being deployed that will accelerate connectivity and aid the consistent rollout of low-cost connectivity solutions in these areas that have non-existence or limited network coverage and broadband services.

Chief Operating Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mazen Mroue, said: “Our core belief is that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. It is driven by an understanding of the potential impact of connectivity on the socio-economic outcomes of individuals, communities and the country as a whole. This belief drives our rural expansion goals and fuels our commitment to continue pushing until everyone is connected.”

MTN Nigeria said it will continue to make significant investments in expanding existing capacity and installing new technologies; thus, advancing digital inclusion.

The company also said as part of efforts to make life brighter and promote the arts, it sponsored a musical theatre performance by Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions titled ‘Oluronbi’. Oluronbi, an ancient Yoruba folktale, follows the life of a woman who promised to dedicate her first child as offering to the spirits who cured her barrenness. The musical featured eight performances in four days.

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West Africa Business News

Nigeria’s Central Bank Retains Lending Rate at 11.5 Per Cent

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Nigeria's Central Bank governor named for second term

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and retained the Cash Reserves Ratio at 27.5 per cent as it battles to combat rising inflation and a recession.

Speaking at the apex bank’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in 2021, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said all 10 members of the committee voted to stick with the current rate.

Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric corridor which was left at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN has secured approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Nigeria Commodity Exchange.

The CBN governor said the Bank can no longer sit back and watch unscrupulous commodity merchants hoard commodities and force the prices of commodities to be high.

The bank cut rates twice last year to try to stimulate an economy that has been hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil price crash.

The bank is facing the challenge of stimulating growth at the same time as trying to curb double-digit inflation while also propping up the ailing naira currency, hit by lower oil receipts, Emefiele said.

Africa’s biggest economy fell into its second recession in four years in the third quarter.

Nigeria, the continent’s top oil exporter which relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, was last in recession in 2016. It emerged the following year, but growth has remained fragile since.

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Nigeria Stock Exchange Gains N46bn on Blue Chip Firms

Consequently, the All-Share Index grew by 86.97 basis points or 0.21 per cent from 41,001.99 index points last-week to 41,088.96, while the market capitalization of equities appreciated by N46bn to close at N21.49tn from N21.45tn.

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Equity trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday closed on a positive note with a gain of N46bn as the bulls regained grip on trading activities.

The market performance indices; Nigeria Stock Exchange All Share Index, appreciated by 0.21 per cent with market breathe, but closed negative with 19 gainers against 30 losers.

Consequently, the All-Share Index grew by 86.97 basis points or 0.21 per cent from 41,001.99 index points last-week to 41,088.96, while the market capitalisation of equities appreciated by N46bn to close at N21.49tn from N21.45tn.

On the activity chart, the banking sub-sector dominated in volume terms with 64.12m shares exchanged in 938 deals and was enhanced by the activities in the shares of Fidelity Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc.

Read Also: Nigeria Stock Exchange | All-Share Index and Market Capitalization increased by 2.19%

Diversified industries sub-sector was also boosted by the activities in the shares of Transcorp Plc and UACN Plc followed with 58.18m units traded in 348 deals.

In all, investors exchanged a total of 333.09m shares exchanged in 5,640 deals.

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that Academy Press Plc led the gainers with 10 per cent to close at 44 kobos per share while May and Baker Plc followed with 9.86 per cent to close at N4.01 per share and MRS Plc with a gain of 9.82 per cent to close at N12.30 per share.

On the flip side, C and I Leasing Plc and Royal Exchange Plc led the losers’ chart with a drop of 10 per cent each to close at N5.13 and 36 kobos per share respectively. ARDOVA Plc also followed with a loss of 9.78 per cent to close at N18.45 per share, while Japaul Gold Plc dropped by 9.47 per cent to close at 86 kobo per share.

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Nigeria Commences Assessment on First Made-in-Nigeria Helicopter

NASENI through reverse engineering, is leading Nigeria’s first manufacturing of non-commercial helicopter.

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The Nigerian government through its Ministry of Environment and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) have started Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the first ever Made-in-Nigeria helicopter.

NASENI through reverse engineering is leading Nigeria’s first manufacturing of non-commercial helicopter.  

Minister of Environment, Muhammad Abubakar said the EIA projects will be conducted to identify possible mitigation in the insulation of equipment on the project be it noise, solid and liquid pollutions.

Abubakar said this yesterday in Abuja when he received the management team from NASENI, led by the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, Mohammed Haruna.

He said, “Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is part of every endeavour on the planet but especially when you talk of aviation, there is a lot of impact on the environment from accidents in aviation, birds strike, noise, vibration, wastes that will be created etc.

“The EIA projects entail a number of things like project registration, site verification for project categorisation and screening environmental data collection and a lot more. It will identify possible mitigation in the insulation of abetment equipment whether noise, pollution both solid and liquid pollutants are all the EIA project will look at. Let me implore you to ensure that EIA is conducted on all your projects to enhance their sustainability.”

The EVC NASENI, Haruna explained that NASENI is trying the launch the first made-in-Nigeria aircraft and there are environmental regulations that the agency must adhere to.

He said, “… we must be accessed and permitted to test any engine in the environment. We have designed, developed and fabricated jet engines that EIA is being conducted by the Ministry of Environment and we want it to be fast tracked, we also want the Ministry to collaborate with us but supporting larger and mass production of our solar products which contributes to the reduction of emission. He further expressed optimism that Nigeria should have its first made-in-Nigeria aircraft by the end of 2021.

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