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MTN Rakes In N421bn From Calls, Data  In Three Months  

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Communication giant, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC has raked in the sum of  N421.49billion from calls and data in the first quarter of 2022.
This is a 20.32 per cent increase from N350.31billion that the telecoms company made from voice and data in the corresponding period of 2021. In its Q1, 2021 announcement, MTN revealed that it made N470.98billion in total revenue in 2022.
According to the firm, its subscribers declined by 1.3 million to 70.2 million year-on-year because of regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations. It added that its active data users increased to 35.9 million y-o-y, while its fintech subscribers rose to 10.7 million.
MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, while speaking on the results, said, “We continued to make good progress in the first quarter, building on the momentum we achieved in Q4 2021 and delivering several key milestones as we grow our connectivity business and platforms.
“This was achieved against a backdrop of significant geopolitical volatility exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. This conflict has significantly impacted energy prices, broader inflation, supply chains, and consumer spending.”
According to him, the number of retail investors in MTN was 139,000 after 126,720 investors became shareholders in the company’s first phase of a series of transactions to increase local ownership.
He added that the final approval for its MoMo Payment Service Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria would enable the firm to offer financial services and drive financial inclusion in the nation.
Toriola stated that the firm now had 166,000 active MoMo agents. He said, “Although our mobile subscriber base declined by 1.9 per cent YoY from 71.5 million in March 2021 to 70.2 million, we sustained the growth trajectory from Q4 2021 as we ramp up capacity for SIM registration and NIN enrolment.
“As a result, we added 1.7 million subscribers in Q1 2022. In addition, active data subscribers rose by 10.5 per cent YoY to 35.9 million, with 1.6 million added in Q1 as we continued to drive data conversion from our new and existing subscriber base.
“To enable the growth in subscribers and traffic, we continued to enhance the capacity of our network. In doing so, we frontloaded our capex plan for the year, deploying capex of N162.5bn in the period to accommodate the sustained demand for data and accelerate the rollout of our 4G network, which now covers approximately 72 per cent of the population and accounts for 76 per cent of data traffic.”
He added that about 60 million MTN subscribers had submitted their NINs.
Meanwhile, the firm had approved a dividend payment of N174.53bn, translating to N8.57 kobo per every 2 kobo ordinary share to its shareholders.

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PFAs Invest N155.44bn Pension Funds In Real Estate

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The Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs) have invested N155.44 billion out of the total funds under the Contributory Pension Scheme in real estate properties as of the end of September 2021, data from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) have revealed.
The PenCom data on monthly pension fund portfolio showed that the total funds under management stood at N13tn as of September.
Other investment portfolios where the funds were invested included FGN securities; domestic and foreign ordinary shares; and corporate debt securities, comprising corporate bonds, corporate infrastructure bonds, corprate green bonds and supranational bonds.
The funds were also invested in local money market securities, comprising bank placements, commercial papers and foreign money market securities.
The PFAs invested the rest in mutual funds, comprising open/close-end funds, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, cash and other assets.
Speaking on real estate investment, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, CFL Group, Mr Lai Omotola, highlighted the need to invest in real estate.
“Construction remains the fastest way of getting out of recession because of the large value chain to the economy towards creating jobs”, he said.
According to a report by Augusto & Co, a pan-African credit rating agency, the Nigerian pension industry’s net assets are expected to hit the N20tn mark by 2023.
It said in its 2021 insurance industry report that the growth in the pension industry’s managed assets had been largely driven by investment returns and additional contributions, to a lesser extent.
The report said the industry’s annual contributions over the last five years had averaged N699bn while withdrawals had averaged about N341bn, translating to a net annual contribution of N347bn and accounting for 26.6 per cent of the industry’s AuM growth over the period.
It said the remaining 73.4 per cent of average growth was attributable to investment returns earned on the portfolios.

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FG Targets $40bn Investment In Digital Infrastructure By 2025

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The Federal Government says it expects $40bn in private capital investments in digital infrastructure by 2025.
The government disclosed this in its ‘National Development Plan 2021-2025: Volume I.’
It said, “To achieve the goals outlined in the sector, the estimated public investment is N150bn from 2021-2025. Allocations will be made to priority projects in the sector as well as projects essential to the operations of the relevant ministries.
“In addition, the ICT sector is projected to facilitate the formation of up to $1bn in private equity and private capital investments in digital infrastructure of approximately $40bn”.
According to the government, to unleash Nigeria’s potential for industrialisation and sustainable economic growth, it will take measures to digitise the economy and make digitalisation a key driver of national economic development strategies.
It said it would grow the digital economy from 10.68 per cent to 12.54 per cent and improve e-governance by 100 per cent by 2025.
It added that to unleash the nation’s digital economic objective, it would need to improve legal framework of the sector through policy amendment and implementation; drive investment for infrastructural development through public funds and blended financing; prioritise skills development through the promotion of STEM and digital technology education; and drive local and foreign investments.
The government said, “There has been a gradual global transition to a fourth industrial revolution through the diffusion of digital technologies encapsulated in 5G, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, Internet of Things, computer vision, etc.
“These global trends have created an urgency for Nigeria to improve its digital and technological capacity in order to generate innovations that will enable Nigeria to harness the benefits of digitalisation for economic development and competitiveness.
“For economies to build resilience in a fast-paced, and ever-changing global environment, there is a need for a robust digital, ICT, and R&D ecosystem to drive innovation and continuous adaptability for sustainable economic growth.
“With its teeming, young, and tech-savvy population, and increased investor interest, Nigeria holds the potential to become a leading technological powerhouse and boost productivity across its economic sectors”.

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Fuel Price Increase: NLC Threatens To Shut Down Nigeria

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For the umpteenth time, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Federal Government against further increase in the pump price of fuel in the country and called on the Nigerian workers to prepare for total war against the fuel price hike.
The organised labour insisted that workers and masses would not accept any further increase in the pump price of fuel in the name of subsidy removal.
The NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning in a New Year message to workers.
He also named Zamfara, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Cross River, Abia and Imo states as seven states yet to implement the N30,000 minimum wage that took effect on April 18, 2019.
In the message titled “The Year 2022 Felicitations: Keeping Our Hopes And Aspirations Alive In The New Year”, NLC directed the affected states to commence indefinite strikes to force the respective state governments to implement the new wage.
NLC, in a 9-page statement, said the government was not relenting in its determination to push through further increases in the pump price of petrol in the name of “removal of petrol subsidy”.
It said, “We have told the government in very clear terms that Nigerians have suffered enough and will not endure more punishment by way of further petrol and electricity price increases.
“Our position in this regard is predicated on four major grounds. First is our concern on the deceit and duplicity associated with the politics of ‘petrol price increase’ by successive Nigerian governments. The truth is that the perennial increase by the government in the pump price of petrol is actually a transfer of government failure and inability to effectively govern to the poor masses of our country.
“We are talking of the failure of government to manage Nigeria’s four oil refineries and inability to build new ones more than thirty years after the last petrochemical refinery in Port Harcourt was commissioned; the failure to rein in smuggling; and the failure to determine empirically the quantity of petrol consumed in Nigeria.
“The shame takes a gory dimension with the fact that Nigeria is the only OPEC country that cannot refine her own crude oil.
“During the negotiations that trailed the last increase in petroleum prices, Organized Labour made a cardinal demand on government which is that it must take immediate steps to revamp and rehabilitate Nigeria’s refineries.
“A Technical Committee was set up to monitor progress in this regard. As we all know, the work of the Technical Committee, like our abandoned public refineries, has ground to a halt and further negotiations with the government adjourned sine die for nearly one year now.
“As a responsible social partner, we have at different times called on the government to show us what they are doing in response to our demands but silence is the response we get”.

By: Boye Salau

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