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‘NITEL’s Woes: Result of Mismanagement, Govt Interference’

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The current comatose state of the Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) was caused by its management which was induced by multiple government interferences.

  This was the view of the book: “The story of NITEL: A Giant In Comatose”.

The views of the book, written by a former IT editor with Daily Independent Newspaper, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, was supported by two current NITEL staff, who felt sorry for the state of NITEL, after a thorough review of the book was done at the book launch in Lagos recently.

Addressing a number of participants, who attended the book launch, he narrated the sorry state of NITEL in a brief summary, and concluded that the story of the company, the nation’s national carrier, beginning from 1985 could not be told in a day.

He described NITEL as a giant in comatose, said it went down as a result of multiple interferences by government and corruptive tendencies and maintained that this sorry position could still be revived if government begins to show sincerity of purpose in its interest in the ailing company.

He also said, government companies could still be run well if there are less government interferences.

Supporting this view, deputy general manager in charge of operations for Adegboyega Babalola, Mr. Adegboyega Babalola said, the company could still survive and compete with other telecom companies if government shows more commitment to its true survival.

Also speaking at the book launch, deputy general manager in charge of NITEL SAT 3, Mr. Innocent Nwokocha, said he was glad when he was told that a book on NITEL was being launched.

According to him NITEL deserves a book launch for the reference purposes owing to the pivotal roles it played in the nation’s economy in the past.

Nwokocha regretted that NITEL, which was once a money making organisation, had turned out to be a burden to government, owing staff salaries for over 22 months.

Reviewing the book, Enyi Moses-Nwagwu, Chief Executive of IT World, who declared himself a witness of the unfolding events that have contributed to the woes of the company, commended the author for his courage to write about NITEL, which he said, many Nigerians had long written off.

According to Enyi “It is really disheartening that NITEL that used to be a money spinner has become a money “guzzler”. He said it is worrisome that a company that once boasted of billions and billions of naira has been so castrated that it presently owes over 22 months salary arrears. “It is in fact heart breaking that NITEL has been so sucked that those who sucked the company dry are today richer than the company itself”, he added.

He also said, Ukodie and other ICT journalists were well-placed to tell the story of NITEL because they were privileged to witness history as it unfolded. “To cover NITEL in those days as journalist was no mean task because it was fraught with dangers. “In the first place the company staffs were barred from speaking or interacting with journalists”. “If any NITEL staff was seen discussing with us and a story breaks the next day, the staff stood the chance of losing his or her job.

According to Mr. Enyi, the story of NITEL should have been the story of Telecommunication in Nigeria. Perhaps it was up to the year 2000 when telecommunication in Nigeria suddenly acquired a life of its own, veering off at a tangent unfettered to the queasy giant while abandoning NITEL to its taciturn fate.

“Obviously the bane of NITEL, he said, has been directionless and unpatriotic leadership. “Given different circumstances, the emasculate giant can spring back to life”, he said. “NITEL holds enormous potentials as it begs for an informal leadership imbued with patriotism and the task unencumbered by indecision, inconsistencies in policy formulation and implementation, political patronage, government interference and meddling, government bureaucracy, ethnocentrism and corrupt practices”.

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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