The seriousness of correct statistics, data or databank in development activities, appraisals and projections has remained a strong point the world over. It is a matter that is totally beyond compromise in every part of the globe, where men and women of integrity and transparent purpose in leadership positions have vowed to move their people forward. The truth is that there is really nothing a government that truly means well for its people could do in the area of democratic planning and development, without the availability of accurate records and data on the different economic activities of its people. For a government to realise any worthwhile revenue in taxation, the importance of correct census figures of its men, women and children as well as private and corporate business operators and activities must be given the attention it deserves. This is applicable to election matters, and the number of primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions to be built in different parts of a state. These issues cannot be dealt with in the absence of development statistics. The same scenario also applies to the unemployment status of a state or nation vis – a – vis available employment opportunities and the usually critical need to create more job chances.
Indeed, a situation where those in positions of authority work without any form of statistics or data on the development needs of their people in the areas of election, taxation and general infrastructural development is a fundamental explanation why development efforts have remained in a state of total disarray, over the years in parts of Nigeria and indeed the underdeveloped world. Hence, correct data provision and its uncompromised application to development policies and programmes of government is as critical as it is indispensable, if Nigerians must not continue to live in conditions of underdevelopment. The Rivers State Ministry of Transport (MOT) Commercial Vehicle Enumeration or Registration exercise is one of the development-prone efforts of the present administration expected to achieve a correct data of all categories of commercial vehicles in the state. The importance of such data cannot be over-emphasised in transport related-development initiatives of government. The pressure of vehicles on available infrastructure such as roads and parks in the state even makes the exercise more imperative. It would also assist government in embarking on appropriate expansion of transport infrastructures in the states for the good of the people.
At the end of the day, the data so collected from the exercise could be used to know how many vehicles operate in different parts of Port Harcourt and the entire state as well as the true identity of their owners and operators up to where they live as well as their villages, communities and states. Such data would definitely make it difficult for criminals to take to commercial vehicle business in Rivers State.
It would also enhance transport related tax computations and reduce the problems of tax evation because transportation is one single business activity that appears to have the largest operators, who for many years have remained elusive when the state is in need of their correct statistics for development plans and projections. Moreover, such data could also enable govermnent to eventually make touting become extinct in the state. This is because, if the state has correct data on transport operators in the different zones of the state capital and other parts of the state, there would be no need for any agency of government to employ the task force element in its tax activities in the sector. In an overall sense, the data collection process would make every other dealings with transporters in the state a lot easier in the years to come. Transport operators should therefore be strongly reminded that the era of task- forcing and touting is gradually being phased out in Rivers State, because the task -force system in our tax programmes has done more harm than good to the image of state governments across the country.
And it should be pointed out that when the idea of Commercial Vehicle Enumeration was mooted by the state Transport Ministry, no time was wasted in taking into cognizance the fact that stakeholders such as the National Union of Road Transport Workers must key into the advantages of the exercise for the right impact to be made. With time, the stakeholders talks with the Ministry on the enumeration programme also positively progressed to the need of installing world class taxi roof lights on all taxis, not only in Port Harcourt but the entire state. Beyond the obvious improvement of the aesthetics of the state capital arising from the presence of many taxis with bright roof lights, particularly at night, it would also enable commuters to easily identify a taxi from a distance to flag it down if they need to board one. In the spirit of participatory democracy, the issue of pricing for the registration exercise and the taxi roof light was also openly and actively debated with the unions taking the usual firm stand in the interest of their members”. At the end of the talkshop, an amicable agreement was reached on when both programmes of the state Transport Ministry in conjunction with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and other stakeholders should commence, as well as what should reasonably be paid by each category of commercial vehicle operators for the registration and taxi roof light.
Additionally, the stakeholders at the instance of the ministry also further agreed that all payments be paid into a government designated bank account, contrary to any form of raw cash transactions, which it was noted breeds corruption. Drawing from this people-oriented scenario of public policy implementation as being canvassed. by the present administration, there is no reason whatsoever why any responsible commercial transport operator in Port Harcourt, and indeed the entire state, should not willingly key into the programme of repositioning the fortunes of the transport industry in the state. The state Transport Ministry as the regulator of the industry in the state has also begun.” an intensive media campaign to further enlighten commercial vehicle operators in the state on the importance of the MOT Vehicle Enumeration Exercise and Taxi Roof Light initiative. Coming from such atmosphere of mutual understanding, oneness and trust between the Ministry of Transport and the unions, among other stakeholders, on how to achieve for the state one of the best transport situations in the country, the onus is now squarely on the operators not to drag the state behind and become a cog in the wheel of progress in the transport sector.
It is also well deserving, that the leadership of the National Union of Road Workers and other stakeholders in the industry particularly in Rivers State be commended for their total support and commitment to the laudable efforts of the present administration to provide an efficient, effective and affordable as well as beautiful transport reform programmes for the state. We commend all commercial vehicle operators who have willingly gone to the state Ministry of Transport Office, at Moscow Road, to pay for the registration and the taxi roof light as law abiding citizens, while those who are yet to comply should follow their good example. So far, the ministry, in alliance with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, has established a total of ten commercial vehicle registration centres in Port Harcourt and its environs to make the process easy for commercial vehicle operators in the state. The appeal, therefore, is that they should do well to live up to their promise of sustaining the tempo of co-operation with the state Ministry of Transport to move the transport industry in Rivers State to the next level, for the good of the operators and best corporate image for the government and people of the state.
Onyije is Press Secretary to Rivers State Commissioner for Transport
Nigerians Spend N2.6trn On Data, Airtime In Nine Months
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have revealed that the amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59 trillion in the first nine months of 2023.
According to the financial statements of the two telecommunication companies, this amounts to a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95 trillion both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data venue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part.
In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71billion.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29 billion.
When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003 trillion.
On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base”.
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review.
It noted that “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY)”.
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services”, it stated.
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86 trillion in 2022.
LCCI Faults FG’s $1trn GDP Projections
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the macro-economic projections in the Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) are not sufficient to achieve the $1 trillion economy target it set to achieve by 2029.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, had last weekend restated the commitment of the government to realising the GDP target.
Reviewing Cardoso’s statement, the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, explained that the basis for government’s projection contains some inconsistencies that will make it unachievable.
She said, “LCCI is aware of the enormous challenges and the uphill task before the CBN in ensuring macro-economic stability and restoring investors’ confidence.
“However, we note the inconsistencies between the Federal Government’s vision of achieving a $1 trillion economy in the next six years and the MTEF.
“The macro-economic projections in the MTEF state that the economy will grow by 3.76 percent 4.22 percent, and 4.78 percent in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. We note that the projected growths are sub-optimal to achieve a $1trillion GDP by 2029, which implies an average growth of 21 percent over the next six years”.
Almona commended the CBN’s plan to review the minimum capital base of banks, but cautioned the apex bank to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
She, however, said, “The Chamber appreciates the intellectual humility of the Governor in admitting the errors or mistakes of the past, particularly in the areas of corporate governance failures, diminished institutional autonomy of CBN, deviation from the core mandate of the bank, and unorthodox use of monetary tools and foray into fiscal activities under the cover of development finance activities.
“As we advance, we challenge the current CBN team to ensure professionalism and integrity and rebuild the trust of the general public.
“On recapitalization of banks, we commend the plan of CBN to review the minimum capital base of banks due to consistent devaluation of the Naira, which has eroded the capital base of banks, attracted significant investment into banks, as well as increased the capacity of banks to provide the required support for the economy.
“However, we caution the CBN to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
“Given the sensitivity of monetary policy and price stability, we urge the CBN to ensure transparency and synergy between monetary and fiscal authorities and effectively communicate significant changes in policy direction”.
By: Corlins Walter
Firm Urges FG To Attract Foreign Investment
Multinational professional services firm, EY has advised the Federal Government to improve on its investment attractiveness as a way of building on previous year’s fortunes.
Senior Partner and Head of Markets, EY West Africa, Ashish Bakhshi, while sharing insights on a newly released report on Foreign Direct Investments for 2022, said Nigeria needed to improve on FDIs to achieve the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“Africa’s leaders will need to adopt pragmatism as they respond to a new geopolitical world order so that its member states can optimize the full spectrum of inbound investment opportunities, which will be essential in meeting Africa’s aspirations for a more equitable, wealthier and urbanised middle-class society”, the report read in part.
It stated further that “Last year saw Africa’s return as a top investment destination hub for global investors. The continent had struggled to attract investment since the onset of COVID-19 and took longer than other regions to recover, as a result of its delayed vaccine rollout and therefore its ability to reopen its 54 national economies.
“To this, its growth lagged pre-pandemic levels for longer than it did in mature markets, setting back the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“The new report, released by EY, a global multinational professional services firm, uncovered that FDI attracted more than 730 projects across the continent in 2022, injecting $194 billion in capital and creating 154,000 jobs.
“Significantly, Egypt saw a record of $ 107 billion in capital for its 149 FDI projects. In East Africa, Kenya dominated the FDI landscape while Nigeria was the leading country in West Africa.
“The countries came in third and fourth respectively for the largest FDI regions on the continent”.
The EY’s 13th Africa Attractiveness report tagged “A Pivot to Growth”, provides insights into the continent FDI, exposing that the 2022 calendar year saw a strong FDI rebound, led by Renewables inflows, with the West being the largest investor, while the North and Southern hubs of Africa were key beneficiaries.
A notable highlight of the report shows that CleanTech became the largest FDI recipient sector in 2022, leading Africa’s FDI for the first time.