CONTRARY to initial fears that it would not succeed, the Mobile Number Portability, MNP, which the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, introduced last year, has recorded a total of 193,000 switchovers by subscribers within the first 15 months. Tony Ojobo, director of public affairs, NCC, made this known at a ceremony in which prizes were awarded to three students that won the essay competition on ‘the effect of MNP on telecoms service and usage in Nigeria,’ organised by the commission.
“Since inception, 193,000 subscribers have successfully ported across the various telecoms networks. The introduction of the MNP was aimed at enabling telecom subscribers to exercise the power of choosing the network that will provide them with the desired services. As is the case in most countries where it has been introduced, its launch in Nigeria led to better customer care services, deepened competition, innovative services, wider coverage for all the networks and, above all, enthronement of the consumer as the king in the market place,” he said.
On his part, Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman, NCC, said one of the reasons the commission introduced the MNP was to democratise choice and the movement of subscribers across the networks using the same number while stimulating subtle competition among operators. He pledged the readiness of the regulatory agency to do all within its powers to enable subscribers to enjoy value for their money. “We shall always discharge our regulatory responsibility with maximum sincerity, firmness and fairness with the intent that the industry becomes much better for the various stakeholders,” he said.
The first prize of the essay went to Dasaolu Johnson, a law student at the University of Lagos. The second prize went to Kadri Olamide, a veterinary medicine student at the University of Ibadan, while the third prize went to Nicholas Okpala, a civil engineering student at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. The three students expressed appreciation to the NCC for offering them the opportunity to do research and learn more on a subject outside their curricula in school.
Mobile Number Portability was introduced by the regulatory agency on April 22, 2013, to enable subscribers to retain their numbers while switching to other preferred service providers.
BOI Won’t Fund SMEs Cluster
THE Bank of Industry, BoI, has turned down the request by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, NASME, to fund its proposed SMEs cluster at Imota, in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. The BoI said the SMEs’ cluster was not part of the core mandate of the bank. The bank has, however, reaffirmed its commitment to increase funding of genuine SMEs, especially those that are adding value to the economy in terms of jobs creation.
NASME, led by Prince Orimadegun Agboade, its national deputy president, had, during a courtesy visit to the newly constituted Board of the BoI, requested among other things, for the funding of its cluster project and assistance to implement its programmes capable of transforming SMEs in the country.
In his response, Rasheed Olaoluwa, managing director, BOI, said, “We will be part of your international conference and we will see how we can support you. Like I said earlier, funding cluster is not what we do; the bank finances long-term plants and machinery while SME-friendly banks provide the working capital loans. Our emphasis is on the genuine SMEs that add value in Nigeria. Experience has shown us that we have a lot of SMEs that are not really genuine. That is the truth. There are SMEs that were just incorporated to chase contracts in various ministries; there are SMEs incorporated to chase supply contracts, construction contracts, SMEs that are into trading and exporting activitivities.
“We are very keen to support only SMEs that will add value to the economy. By adding value I mean, by going into processing and manufacturing activities. That is how we can really increase the contribution of manufacturing to Nigeria’s GDP. That ration is currently peaking at 6.8 percent in the recently rebased GDP,” he said.
Makoju on Standardisation of Cement Production
THE recent standardisation of cement production by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, has gained more support from industry experts. Joseph Makoju, chairman, Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, CMAN, agrees that the 42.5 cement grade has more superior efficacy over and above the 32.5 grade and that the directive of the SON on standardisation was in the interest of the country.
Makoju, a former managing director, Lafarge Cement WAPCO, a cement manufacturer, featured at the Channels Television programme, Morning Rid segment titled: “Cement Standardisation: Setting the Record Straight.” He said he was at the programme to clarify some issues regarding the standardisation controversy.
He debunked the claims by a guest who featured in the programme, whom he accused of misrepresenting his submission at a public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on cement pigmentation, during which session all stakeholders bared their minds on the issue during. Makoju clarified that while he was the CEO at Lafarge Cement between 1991 and September 18, 2000, the company was producing the 42.5 grade of cement and not 32.5 as claimed by the guest and some others.
The chairman, who stated that the cement issue has split the membership of CMAN into two, pointed out that there was no way the efficacy of a 42.5 grade can be compared to 32.5 grade and that claims that some sky scrapers and bridges built decades ago were built with 32.5grade were incorrect.
“Many commentators on the issue of cement standardisation are ignorant of the issues at stake; stakeholders particularly COREN, at the House of Representatives hearing, laid claim to certain facts which made me to intervene, especially on the issue of structures built with 42.5 cement grade but which are now being touted to have been built with 32.5 grade. I was the Lafarge MD between 1991 and 2000, we were producing 42.5grade then, they must have switched over to 32.5 grade at my exit,” he said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Aug. 11, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT