MTN announces first ever loss

South African telecoms giant MTN said Thursday that it made a $200m loss in 2016 – the company’s first – after suffering a huge fine in Nigeria and currency challenges in key markets.

“MTN Group’s financial results for 2016 reflect the most challenging year in the company’s 22-year history,” MTN said in a statement.

Johannesburg-based MTN reported profits of 20.2 billion rand ($1.6bn) before tax for 2015.

Overall performance was hindered by lower than expected growth in both South Africa and Nigeria — as well as the depreciation of the rand against the dollar and the continued impact of a $1bn fine by Nigerian authorities.

Nigerian authorities fined MTN in October 2015 for failing to disconnect unregistered mobile accounts in the country — originally ordering it to pay $1,000 for each improperly registered SIM card.

The Nigerian Communications Commission had ordered the purge for security reasons, as the country battles Boko Haram Islamists as well as criminality — especially kidnapping for ransom.

The original NCC penalty was equal to roughly a quarter of the country’s annual federal budget.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is MTN’s largest market, where it now has 62 million subscribers out of a total of 233 million — a 1.2 percent increase on 2015.

MTN’s operations in South Africa were hit by technical issues and customer service problems during the year, which also hurt the bottom line, the company said.

“Towards the end of 2016 our two largest operations (South Africa and Nigeria)… began to show signs of a turnaround following an extended period of underperformance.”

Revenue was fractionally up for the year at 146.9 billion rand ($11.3bn, 10.7 billion euros), the company said.

The MTN share price on the Johannesburg stock exchange rose five percent after the announcement of the company results compared to the close on Wednesday.

Discos Allege N10 Loss on Every Kilowatt Hour of Power Sold

The 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria’s electricity supply industry have claimed that they are currently losing an average of N10 on every kilowatt hour (kwh) of electricity they distribute to homes and offices in their networks.

The Discos also said they have been unable to borrow funds to invest in their networks because of the deficit status of their respective balance sheets.

Speaking in Abuja through their association – the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the Discos equally stated they would want the government to legally recognise the current electricity market shortfall as a deferred income which could help them re-engineer their balance sheets to be bankable.

The Executive Director, Advocacy for ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan explained that the current shortfall had reached N809.8 billion, and that the Discos have been operating on deficit for a long time now.
“No Disco is making any profit in this sector now. No Disco has less than N10 loss today on power supplied to consumers. We are struggling with cost recovery,” said Oduntan.

He further said the pegging of capital expenditure in the tariff at N20 billion was a challenge to the Discos because they would not be allowed to spend more than that annually on capital projects.
Oduntan explained that with such capital expenditure peg, the Discos would be unable to conclude their metering plans in the sector, as well as expand their network reach.

“Our capital expenditure is capped at N20 billion per annum. What that means is that whatever we spend outside of this in a year, it is our business and not recognised in the tariff for that period.

“Tell me how we will provide meters and transformers and expand our networks. Meter cost money, how can we get money when we cannot borrow because our businesses are not bankable and we are carrying deficits,” he noted.
He further explained: “If you look at the difference as regards tariff, the same quantum of energy which may sell for N10 had by June increased to N18 from December 2015 to June 2016. What that means is that the invoices to us for quantities supplied have increased, and that is why publications by NBET without explanation can be factual but misleading as they have not told Nigerians that costs have increased while the Discos have not increased tariff.”
“We are not clamouring for an increase in tariff but government needs to come in and do something because the shortfall is now N809.8 billion. If the Discos die, the sector will die as well.

“We are all in this together, and we are all in a desperate situation and need help. We will either swim or sink together. We are allowed to sell electricity based on N197/$ which is what is in the tariff. This cannot work,” added Oduntan.

Credit: thisdaylive

N10.3trn Loss To Piracy Unacceptable– FG

The Federal Government has described the estimated N10.3 trillion loss to national and global piracy in the creative industry as unacceptable.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the statement in Abuja on Friday when a delegation from the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) made a presentation to him.

Mohammed said the figure, which represented 85 per cent of the N15 trillion worth of the industry, could turn the economy of the nation around if piracy was addressed.

He also bemoaned the trend where about 92 per cent of music and video productions by Nigerian artistes were done mostly in South Africa, Europe and America.

The minister said that government would work with the association to stop piracy and provide the enabling environment for the creative industry to thrive.

He said government would encourage investments in the creative industry.

Mohammed agreed with the recommendations of the association that Nov. 30 should be set aside as anti-piracy day.

He said the ministry with the association would hold a press conference to announce government’s commitment to fight piracy, protect creative assets and grow revenue in the sector.

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Housewife Threatens To Sue Edo State Over Alleged Loss Of Pregnancy

One Mrs. Oghosa Ejemai who allegedly lost her seven-week pregnancy and sustained injuries, following alleged attack by officials of the Edo State Government, yesterday threatened to sue the State Government for the sum of N100 million for assault.

She alleged that the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Isimeme Iriogbe supervised her alleged assaults along with his staff.

Mrs Ejemai spoke in Benin when she was presented to journalists by the Publicity Secretary of the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Chris Nehikhare, at the state secretariat of the party.

She explained that she was in her shop at 14, Mis­sion Road, Benin City, at about 5:00p.m. on February 2, 2016, when some people led by the Commissioner stormed her shop and started packing her wares, adding that in her attempt to prevent the commissioner and his team from taking her goods, she was slapped and hit.

“They tried to push me into a vehicle, hit my head and fired shots into the air. People rushed at me that day. I was taken to the Benin Central Hospital and reported to the Oba market police station.

“The third day, I started bleeding. So I went to the hospital. At the hospital, doctor confirmed that I had lost my seven-week-old pregnancy.

“When they called me to come and pick my goods, I only saw about five per cent of the goods taken from my shop. They told me to take whatever was available as they don’t usually release seized goods,” she said.

But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Trans­port, Mr. Iriogbe said Mrs. Ejemai was trading along the walkway and had attacked officials who came to clear the walkway of traders and their wares.

“She was trading along the walkway and she ac­costed the officials that were clearing the walkway. She almost tore the dress of one of the women who was removing the wares. By going to the PDP for her press conference, it means her blocking the walkway was political

“I expect her to be at the court and we shall meet there because the court is for everybody. I acted de­cently and I did not beat her.”

Credit: Sunonline

Assembly Seat Loss: Dickson Fires Commisioner

The Bayelsa state Commissioner for Sports, Chief Ebikitin Doingoli was yesterday sacked by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
Doingoli’s removal was announced on major radio stations in Bayelsa state through a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Iworiso- Markson.

Though no reason was given for his removal investigations revealed that it is unconnected to the State House of Assembly election in Kolokuma/ Opokuma Constituency 2 which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The winner of the election, Ebiye Tarabina who is believed to have been sponsored by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Affairs, Dr Waripamowei Dudafa is a cousin to Doingoli.

Checks indicated that Dickson who was irked about the loss of PDP at the election believed that some party leaders in constituency contributed to the defeat of the party.

According to investigations Dickson is of the view that Kolokuma/ Opokuma constituency 2 was lost because of disloyalty and he has decided to deal with disloyal members in the party.

The sack of Doingoli is seen as just the beginning as more heads would roll after the deputy governor submits his committee report. Doingoli in an interview confirmed he heard his sack from an announcement by Mr Iworiso- Markson on Glory F.M.

While stating that he has not committed any offence to have warranted his sack, he said he has sent a message to Dickson thanking him for giving him an opportunity to serve the state.

Doingoli admitted that Tarabina is his cousin but exonerated himself from the loss of the PDP at the poll.

According to him he had tried to persuade Tarabina to drop his political ambition but he insisted in contesting on the platform of APGA.

He said “I heard the announcement of my sack on the radio like every other Bayelsans. I have sent a message to the Governor thanking him for giving me the opportunity to serve the state. I believe it has something to do with the House of Assembly election.

Read More: sunnewsonline

Nigerian Military Court-Martials General Blamed For Loss Of Baga To Boko Haram

The Nigerian military on Monday commenced the court martial of a Brigadier General, Enitan Ransome-Kuti, and four other senior officers, blamed for the loss of Baga in Borno State, to Boko Haram insurgents in January.

Mr. Ransome-Kuti, his Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel G.A. Suru, and some other senior officers, were arrested for failing to repel Boko Haram attack on the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force [MNJTF] in Baga.

Also arrested were the Commanding Officers of the 134 and 174 Battalions — Lieutenant Colonel Haruna and Major Aliyu. The two battalions are under the MNJTF.

Mr. Ransome-Kuti was the commander of the multinational force during the attack.

The commanders were detained shortly after they arrived Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, from Monguno, where they took refuge with troops after being dislodged from Baga.

Military sources told PREMIUM TIMES that authorities were especially angry with Mr. Ransome-Kuti for his inability to lead his troop to counter the onslaught in Baga, despite the high calibre weapons and ammunition available to his unit.

After their arrests, the senior officers were held at the officers’ mess of the 21 Armoured Brigade, and were asked to account for the weapons lost to the insurgents.

At the trial which took place at the Defence Headquarters garrison in Abuja, on Monday, the officers were represented by counsels from the Femi Falana chambers.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Nigeria’s Loss Is East Africa’s Gain as Oil Prices Plummet

Investors targeting Africa are looking east as an oil-market rout depresses economic growth prospects in Nigeria and other crude-producing nations.

Stocks have surged 22 percent in Tanzania, 18 percent in Uganda and 9.4 percent in Kenya since oil began falling from a peak of $115.71 a barrel on June 19. Lower fuel-import costs are helping to keep inflation and interest rates in check and bolster their economies. That contrasts with a 24 percent slump in the benchmark stock index in Nigeria, which relies on oil for 95 percent of foreign-exchange income and faces political instability ahead of elections in February.

“It’s mostly the east African countries that will benefit from the lower oil price,” Joseph Rohm, a fund manager who helps oversee Cape Town-based Investec Asset Management’s $2 billion Africa fund, said by phone on Dec. 2. “Lower inflation implies lower interest rates for longer, which is good for consumers. Low rates are also good for credit growth, which is good for the banks. Kenya (NSEASI) is one area where we have increased our exposure.”

Oil exporters such as Nigeria, Angola and Ghana, which are on Africa’s west coast, have been left exposed to financial market turmoil after a 42 percent plunge in the price of Brent crude in the past six months. Authorities were slow to build adequate savings and reduce the reliance on oil earnings to fund their budgets when crude prices soared, putting their economies now at risk.

Credit: Bloomberg News