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Facebook includes Nigeria, others in its undersea cable

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Facebook Inc and some of the world’s largest telecoms carriers, China Mobile Limited and MTN Group Limited, are set to build a wider-than-earlier planned giant sub-sea cable in Nigeria and other parts of Africa

On inauguration, the subsea cable will  join  five other international submarine cables, with over 40 terabyte per seconds  (Tbps) of capacity, including SAT3 cable, MainOne cable, Glo1 cable, ACE cable and WACS cable, landed by Natcom, MainOne, Globacom, Dolphin Telecom and MTN.

Already, capacities of these submarine cables are under utilised as about 30 per cent of total capacity is currently in use. A group, Association of Cable operators of Nigeria (ASCON) two years ago, said less than 10 per cent of the five cables is in use.

The companies plan to add the Indian Ocean island countries of Seychelles and Comoros, as well as Angola and a new connection to Nigeria, the company said yesterday.

This is in addition to a recently announced link to the Canary Islands and would bring connection-landings to 35 in 26 countries.

“The significant investment by Facebook in 2Africa builds on several other investments we have made in the continent, including infrastructure investments in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” a Facebook spokesperson said via email.

The undersea cable sector is experiencing a resurgence, with Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google behind about 80 per cent of recent investments in transatlantic links. The tech giants are seeking to tap growing demand for fast-data transfers used for everything from streaming movies to social messaging and telemedicine. During the 1990s dot-com boom, phone companies spent more than $20 billion laying fiber-optic lines under the oceans.

The project is part of Facebook’s long-held plans to lead the race to provide more reliable and faster internet in Africa, a continent of more than 1.2 billion people with an increasing up take of smartphones. The U.S. social-media giant first announced plans for a new undersea cable in May 2020. That followed attempts to launch a satellite in 2016 to beam signal around the continent — but the SpaceX rocket carrying the technology blew up.

2Africa, set to be one of the largest subsea cable project in the world, will cost just under $1 billion, Bloomberg reported last May, citing people familiar with the matter. Manufacturing of the first segments of the infrastructure has started in the U.S., according to the statement. Nokia Oyj’ Alcatel Submarine Networks was picked to build the cable.

The marine surveys for the new sections of the cable will probably be completed by the end of the year, according to the companies. The 37,000-kilometer (23,000 miles) long cable will connect Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

2Africa is expected to come into operation by 2024 and will deliver more than the combined capacity of all sub-sea cables that are currently serving Africa, according to the statement. Other project partners include Telecom Egypt Co, the U.K.’s Vodafone Group Plc and Paris-based Orange SA.

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Business & Economy

President Buhari transmits Business Facilitation bill to N’Assembly

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The Senate has received the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022, forwarded to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, for consideration and passage.

The bill was accompanied by a letter dated 17th June, 2022.

The letter, addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was read during plenary on Tuesday.

President Buhari, in the letter, explained that the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill would promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

It reads, “Pursuant to Sections 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 seeks to promote the war of doing business in Nigeria by amending relevant legislation.

“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

 

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N5 trillion urgently needed to cushion effects double digits increase on ordinary Nigerians – World Bank

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The World Bank has warned that Nigeria could lose about N5trillion in 2022 from gasoline subsidies.

The bank also said that N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities.

The World Bank said in it Nigeria Development Update (NDU) released on Tuesday in Abuja.

The report said: “When we launched our previous Nigeria Development Update in November 2021, we estimated that Nigeria could stand to lose more than N3 trillion in revenues in 2022 because the proceeds from crude oil sales, instead of going to the federation account, would be used to cover the rising cost of gasoline subsidies that mostly benefit the rich”.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria Shubham Chaudhuri, however noted: “Sadly, that projection turned out to be optimistic. With oil prices going up significantly, and with it, the price of imported gasoline, we now estimate that the foregone revenues as a result of gasoline subsidies will be closer to 5 trillion Naira in 2022.

“N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities, to invest in Nigeria’s children and youth, and in the infrastructure needed for private businesses small and large to flourish, grow and create jobs.”

The report noted: “Nigeria is in a paradoxical situation: growth prospects have improved compared to six months ago but inflationary and fiscal pressures have increased considerably, leaving the economy much more vulnerable”.

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Nigeria’s banking sector now immune to economic shock – NDIC

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Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that the banking sector is now immunized to withstand shocks that may impact the economy and the financial system.

Mr Bello Hassan, Managing Director of NDIC said this at a retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions with the NDIC, in Lagos.

Any change in fundamental macroeconomic variables or relationships that has a significant impact on macroeconomic outcomes and measures of economic performance, such as unemployment, consumption, and inflation, is referred to as an economic shock.

Mustapha Ibrahim, Executive Director (Operations), who represented the NDIC boss, said Nigerian banking industry was currently resilient to most of these difficulties, particularly external shocks over which the Corporation had no control.

He said: “We have tried to immunise the system to withstand shocks that may be impacting on the economy and the financial system”.

Hassan, further said that effective risk-based management remained critical to a safe and sound financial system.

“The NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria have a very robust supervisory framework under the risk-based supervisory format the risk-based approach is actually proactive. For the most part, we try to anticipate all these risks – Macro, micro, domestically and globally – to address them continuously.

“So, it is so dynamic that we also are constantly on a real-time basis, monitoring the industry continuously and fine-tuning our supervisory tools, both onsite and offsite, to mitigate some of the challenges the banks may be facing,” he said.

On his part, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said the retreat demonstrated progress in creating lasting and workable relationships in the national interest.

Sani, who was represented by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, was optimistic that the outcome will aid in the strengthening of the financial and banking sectors, particularly the corporation’s supervisory and regulatory role.

“The National Assembly and NDIC are key institutions critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. While we provide the legal and institutional frameworks, NDIC carries out its regulatory or supervisory responsibilities in order to safeguard the banking sector.

“Engagement of this nature gives us the platform to deeply look into our activities and responsibilities and also examine how far we have gone in carrying out our mandate as required. It helps in injecting fresh ideas into our operations which will materialise into an improved, effective and efficient service delivery to Nigerians,” he said.

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