Amid heightened expectations that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would commence further issuance of mobile payment licences to prospective companies in June, some operators have begun intense lobbying to ensure that they acquire the requisite licences to provide Mobile Money Transfer and Payment (MMTP) services to the Nigerian populace.
In January, Abayomi Atoloye, acting director, banking operations, CBN, had disclosed that m-payment system would take-off in the country by middle of the year. He said that CBN had received many applications for license to operate m-payment in Nigeria, further adding that the apex bank had set up a policy and oversight unit with the mandate to ensure compliance and recommend modalities for approval of license.
At the forefront, the companies in line for the licenses include: Mobile Media Info Tech Limited (MMIT) led by Jide Akindele; Eartholuem Networks promoted by Bola Adeyinka and Peter Afam Emeleogu; Tagattitude Nigeria led by Femi Akinware; Mtec Communications, a mobile value added services company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); TXTPAY, Easipay, UBA and GTBank.
Others are Ingres Quality Rollout, a specialised telecom/information technology (IT) service delivery and infrastructure development consulting firm led by Chidiebere Anosike; Pagatech piloted by team of Jay Alabraba, Tayo Oviosu, Aisha Bello and Phillip Uwamurogie as well as Celltrust which is based in Abuja and has Samuel Ucheagha managing its operations.
The Tide learnt that each licensee must meet CBN’s conditions including having minimum paid up capital of N500 million. It was further gathered that some prospective players would be granted provisional approval in June to commence pilot projects to enable the CBN appraise the efficacy of the system using international best practices and standards.
When the services are rolled out, m-payment would radically transform the manner by which Nigerians make payments for their business transactions with the mobile phone expected to be deployed as the main platform for payments. In addition, with only 22 million bank accounts and less than 10,000 bank branches to cater for 140 million people, m-payments would indeed reach over 80 million mobile subscribers. This would also include people without access to formal financial services in urban and rural areas.
It would be recalled that MoneyBoxAfrica, a mobile savings and payment platform, became the first M–payment licensee in the country in 2009 but is yet to activate the licence. It was however not apparent which m-payment provider would scale through as at press time but there are strong signals that financial institutions would obtain a better share of it.
From all indications, telecom companies have been relegated to the sidelines. Some industry analysts have argued that the CBN’s m-payment guideline favours financial institutions rather than Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in terms of model adoption for service deployment. They further stated that the fear of domination of the sub-sector by MNOs may be responsible for the apex bank’s action.
Airtel Plans Relief For Visually Impaired Teacher
Airtel Nigeria has announced that in the next episode of “Airtel Touching Lives”, the companys TV series that spotlights its efforts to bring succour to underprivileged Nigerians, the focus will be on Timilehin Segun, a visually impaired teacher.
Segun, who Airtel describes as extraordinary, devotes his life to educating and inspiring the youths in his community, despite his own physical limitations.
The upcoming episode, which is the third in the seventh season, was aired on Sunday, 9th July 2023, and took viewers through Seguns journey from a blind pupil to the neighbourhood mentor who now runs a popular programme, “Reliable Link Tutors”, an after-school centre created to help improve the academic performance of secondary school students.
Commenting on the new episode of Airtel Touching Lives, Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Adeniran expressed Airtels delight to be a part of the journey of unyielding determination and passion.
“Seguns determination, resilience, and enthusiasm for education demonstrate the spirit of Airtel Touching Lives, and we hope that his story will inspire our viewers to pursue their dreams, no matter the odds”, he said.
This instalment of the programme will also include a segment on Irede Foundation, an Airtel Touching Lives beneficiary from the previous season.
The non-governmental organisation provides young children with prosthetic limbs and helps to prepare them for a self-reliant living and, this Sunday, the series will review the progress the foundation has made since Airtels intervention in 2022.
Airtel Touching Lives continues to showcase extraordinary individuals like Segun, who have not only overcome personal challenges, but have also dedicated themselves to improving their immediate environment.
With Airtel Nigeria’s commitment to empowering lives and making dreams come true through Airtel Touching Lives, the telecom giant has restored hope for countless vulnerable individuals and families across the country, encouraging other corporations to commit more resources towards making positive social impact.
Airtel Touching Lives Season 7 is broadcast on Sundays on four national and cable TV channels, and one streaming app.
The platforms include African Magic Urban at 5:00 pm, NTA Network at 6:30 pm, and Startimes Channel 108 at 6:00 pm.
Re-runs are broadcast on Tuesdays on African Magic Urban at 3:30 pm, and on Wednesdays on Startimes Channel 108 at 6:30 pm. Current and previous episodes are also available to stream on Airtel TV.
Agency Seeks Collaboration For IoT Unlock
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has emphasised the need for collaboration to unlock Nigeria’s potential in Internet of Things (IoT) and its revolutionary impact on the countrys digital ecosystem.
Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, who disclosed this is in a bid to implement the Digital Transformation pillar of Strategic Road Map and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) of the agency.
Inuwa made this plea while delivering his keynote address at the IoT West Africa Conference and Exhibition 2023 in Lagos State, recently.
The DG noted some challenges that need unlocking in order to access the potentials of IoT, especially infrastructure, cyber security, and data protection, stating that most IoT use cloud-based solutions Alexa, Google, and others.
According to him, todays computer systems are outperforming humans in many endeavours, especially the rise of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), chat GPT, etc.
He said that is the fabric of the shift humanity is witnessing in accelerating the convergence between physical, biological, and digital world.
“Looking at the areas you can apply them, such s in agriculture, we need to increase our agri-products, and IoT can help us to do that with lesser human efforts”, he said.
He explained further that there are wearable plant sensors at the moment, which is one of the top technologies in 2023.
The NITDA boss hinted that farmers can have a sensor attached to their plant to manage its health, watering, fertilizer, pesticides, and this would invariably enhance the increase of food produce.
He asserted that by 2050, Nigeria will be the third largest population in the world, therefore, there is need to explore how we can use IoT to increase the countrys food production.
In addition to agriculture, the NITDA Director General discussed the role of IoT in addressing security challenges, saying that IoT devices can monitor activities.
The DG emphasised that IoT could be utilised to enhance oil theft prevention by monitoring pipelines and sending alerts for quick security response.
He advised that there is also the need to develop the talent within the country.
ALTON Hails NCC Boss Over Quality Regulation
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, has praised the leadership of the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.
He also commended the NCC’s commitment to quality regulation, attributing the success of the telecom industry in the country to the regulatory environment it enjoys.
Speaking at a meeting with mobile network operators on the implementation of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS) in the telecommunications industry, held at the NCC’s office in Lagos recently, Adebayo expressed his pleasure in what he called Danbatta’s remarkable administrative skills, challenging the notion that engineers are not good administrators.
He described Danbatta as an excellent administrator, highlighting his instrumental role in the growth and development of the telecom industry.
Addressing the audience, Danbatta shared details about the implementation of the ERAS project.
He emphasized the collaboration between the NCC and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), saying the ERAS project is being carried out through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, following the Design, Finance, Develop, Deploy, Operate, and Transfer (DFDDOT) model, as recommended by the ICRC.
Danbatta acknowledged the efforts of the NCC in transforming the dream of the ERAS project, conceived in 2007, and nurtured to reality.
He also underscored the project’s alignment with the Federal Government’s directive to enhance revenue collection and prevent leakages within ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
By deploying the Revenue Assurance Solution, Danbatta said the NCC aims to optimize the revenue payable by licensed telecommunications service providers, thereby bolstering revenue generation for the government.
Initially designed to focus on telecom operators, who have not only become major industry players, but have also expanded their services to to the digital services ecosystem, the ERAS project underwent a significant expansion.
In June 2022, following a presidential approval, the NCC was directed to broaden the scope of the project to encompass the activities of Digital Economy stakeholders. Consequently, the project was renamed the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS).
The implementation of the ERAS demonstrates the NCC’s commitment to fostering transparency, accountability, and financial efficiency within the Nigerian telecom and digital services sectors.
Through the utilisation of accurate data and information, the ERAS aims to eradicate wrong computations, faulty data, and information leakages.
With the telecom industry playing a critical role in driving economic growth and enabling digital transformation, the ALTON Chairman’s commendation and the ongoing efforts of the NCC under Danbatta’s leadership highlight the commitment to creating an enabling regulatory environment that fosters innovation and sustainable development.
As the implementation of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution progresses, stakeholders within the telecom and digital services sectors eagerly anticipate its positive impact on revenue generation and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.
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