THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has declared the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited, NITEL, and 13 other telecoms companies as inactive operators. According to Technology Times, NCC’s declaration of NITEL and its mobile business unit, MTEL Limited, as inactive further reflects the southward fortunes of the two public-owned telecoms, as they technically no longer contribute to the periodic subscriber information released by the telecoms regulator.
Also declared inactive were other private telecoms, such as Disc Communications, Intercellular Nigeria Limited, and Reliance Telecoms (also known as Zoom).
Starcomms, MTS 1st Communications, WITEL, O’net (Odua Telecom), Rainbownet Limited, Monarch Communications, XS Broadband, Webcom and IPNX completed the list.
However, other telecom companies like MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and Etisalat account for 98.12 percent of the market compared to 1.74 percent by the CDMA operators and 0.14 percent by the fixed lines sectors of the telecoms industry, contributing 126,958,904 of the total 129,391,392 active phone connections in the country.
The NCC’s figures revealed that the CDMA mobile sector contributed 2,256,612, while fixed wireless operators added only 172,876 of the active lines recorded in April 2014. A further breakdown of the figures shows the MTN to have 58,355,855, Airtel 25,475,672, Globacom 24,015,713, and Etisalat 19,111,664, representing 46 percent, 20 percent, 19 percent and 15 percent respectively of the market.
Dangote Cement Cameroon Starts Production in August
THE Dangote Cement Cameroon S.A., is to begin operations in August, this year. The company, which made the announcement recently, said the factory would begin production with capacity for one million metric tonnes, which would to be expanded to 1.5 million metric tonnes in the next two years. Besides, like other cement factories all over the world, the factory would also produce the 42.5 grade of cement.
The management of the company said no load trials began in April and that production of raw materials and load trails would begin in August. Abdulahhi Baba, general manager, Dangote Cement Cameroon S.A., said the design and engineering of the plant was at 99.98 percent completion, while the procurement, construction, overall status and precast piling were at 95, 70, 84 and 100 percent, respectively.
“Dangote Cement Cameroon SA is a cement grinding company; we import clinkers to produce cement and we are producing the 42.5 grade like our other plants in other parts of the world. Most builders in the rural areas do not have engineers and other professionals, but if they have quality products, they can minimise collapse,” Baba said.
According to the GM, the company was first registered as Dangote Industries Cameroon Limited in 2008, but the name changed to Dangote Cement Cameroon S.A. in 2012 with an investment agreement signed with the government of Cameroon in September 2011. “The effective date of the contract with Sinoma, which is the major contractor for the construction of the plant, was in March 2012. Site handover to Sinoma was, however, on June 4, 2012. This was due to the revocation of the land allocation by the Douala Urban Council from February 28 to May 28, 2012,” he said.
Baba said the project which had already gulped about $140m, would also have a 200-metre long jetty to serve as a berth for the clinkers. The general manager said echo hopers would also be deployed for the discharge of the clinkers. “The plant will have a clinker silo of 30,000 metric tonnes and two cement silos, which can store up to 14,000 tonnes of cement,” he said.
Baba added that the first shipment of clinkers would begin in July, while actual production would begin in August. Summarising the project, he said the grinding unit’s design capacity was one million tonnes but upgradable to 1.5 million metric tonnes with a jetty of 270 long quays, two echo hoppers and transport conveyors from ship side to shore.
Other details of the plant include three packing machines, one big bag loading facility and power supply from the national grid. “The plant was planned based on the government of Cameroon’s interest in diversifying the cement market to create a healthy competition,” he said.
Baba added that the construction of plant initially suffered hitches when the host community expressed concern over the anticipated level of pollution. “They said they already had one in the community and another plant would give a higher level of pollution, but we were able to convince them that our plants emit little or no pollution with the modern technology that we have. Construction eventually started in 2012,” he explained. According to Baba, the plant currently has 300 people in direct employment, while thousands of others are indirectly employed.
Nigeria Now Exports Cement
Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, is excited about Nigeria joining the league cement exporters in the world. He said that the country’s net export of cement was now more than 28.5 million metric tonnes annually.
Aganga who spoke on July 1, in Abuja at the formal launch of the “Check the BB (Best Before) Date” campaign organised by the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, stated that made in Nigeria products had continued to enhance capacity utilisation and the country’s Gross Domestic Products, GDP. He emphasised that his ministry would not relent in working closely with industries to improve productivity and the quality of their products.
According to him, to successfully market Nigerian products overseas, concerted efforts must be made by industries to embrace measures put in place to ensure products’ quality as well as protect consumers’ laws and regulations on date markings and other quality parameters.
The minister disclosed that the “Check the BB Date” campaign embarked upon by the CPC underscored the need to get industries to adhere to best practices and the necessity of providing additional protection for vulnerable consumers in Nigeria. “In view of the hazards posed to consumers by this situation, my ministry will give every support to the CPC in its ongoing efforts to step up its inspection and enforcement activities, with a view to detecting, exposing and prosecuting dubious businesses that profiteer at the expense of consumers,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Ishaku Gang Mwadkon, chairman of the governing board of the CPC, explained that “BB Dates” were small print usually on products packaging and were the prima facie evidence as to whether a product had expired or fit for use. He lamented that majority of Nigerian consumers neither could neither comprehend nor know about the importance of the BB date or simply ignore it when making purchase, adding that unscrupulous marketers capitalised on consumers’ lack of awareness to expose them to grave risk by placing in the market products without BB dates.
In her welcome address, Dupe Atoki, director general, CPC, stressed that over time, the lack of awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities had been exploited by some businesses to brazenly engage in all sorts of sharp practices that undermine the safety, comfort and economic interest of consumers.
Atoki disclosed that the United Nations Guidelines for consumer protection, which serves as an international policy framework for consumer organisations worldwide, placed great emphasis on consumer education. “The guidelines impose an obligation on government to formulate or encourage the development of general consumer education and information programme,” she said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT