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We will Auction 5G Spectrum in December – NCC

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Nasiru Yusuf

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has officially declared that the auction of the 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria, will take place on December 13, 2021.

KANO FOCUS reports that according to the Information Memorandum (IM) presented by the Commission at a stakeholder engagement forum organised on 5G spectrum in Lagos recently, NCC is adopting Ascending Clock Auction format, which is software-based while a mock auction has been slated for December 10, 2021, as a precursor to the actual auction on December 13, 2021.

The IM provides information, conditions, obligations, financial implication, timelines and other necessary details on the planned 3.5Ghz spectrum auction.

The IM also explains the rollout obligations of the would-be eventual winners of the spectrum licence auction, whose reserved price has been pegged at $197.4 million (N75 billion).

The IM also states that only licensees, who make down payment of 10 per cent of the reserved bid price and with 100 per cent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction while licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will be allowed to participate in the auction.

According to the IM, the auction comes with a 10-year spectrum licence and a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL). However, new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G licence.

The eventual licensees will have a rollout obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, beginning from the date of award of the licence. Between the first and second year of the licence, the operators are expected to rollout service in, at least, one state in each geo-political zone.

From the third to fifth year, they are obligated to cover all the zones. Between six to 10 years, they should cover all the states in the country, according to guidelines set out in the IM.

Speaking at the forum, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the Ministry has been working closely with the Commission to ensure that necessary spectrum resources needed for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria to accelerate the nation’s digital economy space is made available.

Represented by a Director in the Ministry, who is concurrently the Secretary, National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), Abubakar Ladan, the Minister said the 3.5GHz is the most popular spectrum band used globally by regulators and operators for the deployment of 5G technology, and it seems the only band available in Nigeria for immediate use by operators.

In his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, listed the various steps diligently taken by the Commission that culminated in present status of the 5G deployment plan. He also reeled out data to justify how profitable investment in 5G deployment will be for potential operators and investors in the country.

According to him, “Nigeria has an estimated population of 214 million, with an average growth rate of 2.6% annually. Approximately 76.46 per cent of the population is under the age of 35. In line with these demographic changes, internet penetration grew from 3 per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as at September, 2021, and broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September, 2021.”

He said while the global impact of Fourth Generation (4G) technology brought about increase in mobile usage and network performance, 5G technology will leverage on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

The Forum was well attended by industry stakeholders, including operators, industry associations and groups, advocacy bodies, and the media.

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), among others, called on the government to continue to make the operating environment more conducive for the existing and prospective licensees in the telecom ecosystem, in order to enable Nugeria to fully harness and harvest the derivable benefits of mobile technology in the country.

The stakeholder engagement forum was organized in keeping with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and NCC’s tradition of consultative regulatory practice.

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Gov. Yusuf Flag off Distribution of Over N1 billion Worth Free Fertilizers to Smallholder Farmers in Kano

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf Thursday unveiled distribution of free fertilizers worth over one billion naira to smallholder farmers including females and People with Disabilities in the state.

A statement by Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, the Spokesperson to the Governor, said the initiative was in fulfillment of Governor Yusuf’s campaign promise to improve livelihood through investment on Agribusiness.

Governor Yusuf had during his campaign activities towards 2023 elections promised to champion Agricultural transformation through provision of quality and affordable Agricultural inputs as contained in his 70 page blueprint presented to the good people of Kano tittled “My Commitment for Kano”

Besides, the Dawakin-Tofa revealed the over a billion naira worth NPK fertilizers that was distributed to 52,800 smallholder farmers across the 44 Local Government areas were produced by the state owned Kano Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO).

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf while flagging off the agric input disbursement explained the intention was to reduce cost of production and boost food security.

The state executive council had also approved the procurement of over five billion naira worth fertilizers that will soon be made available to Kano farmers at subsedised rate.

The Governor stressed that farmers already battling with high cost of inputs and labour occasioned by economic reality, now have cause to redouble energy to multiple their produces.

He emphasised on the government readiness to sustain food production through regular supply of fertilizer production by the state owned company (KASCO). Governor Yusuf said KASCO and other state manufacturering centres are being strengthening to revertilise revenue flow and sustain the economy of the economy of the state.

The beneficiaries which include women farmers and people living with disabilities are expected to recieve 25kg of NPK fertilizer to support thier farming activities and eventually boost the yeild of thier crops and improve livelihood of the people.

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Agriculture: Gov. Yusuf issues stern warning against diversion of fertilizer distributed to Kano farmers..

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… As Emir Sanusi harps on fairness in sharing

The Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has issued a stern warning to officials of the state against the diversion of fertilizer distributed to 52,800 farmers across the 44 Local Government Areas.

This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa on Thursday.

The governor’s warning was made during the flag-off of the distribution of free fertilizer to farmers across the 44 local governments, held at the Open Arena, Government House, Kano.

The Governor mandated the Kano Project Protection Association (Kano-PRO-PA) to ensure adherence to the distribution guidelines intended for smallholder farmers.

“Any government official found diverting this fertilizer will be dealt with severely.

“We will not tolerate corruption. This gesture is meant for real farmers,” the Governor warned.

In his remark the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, emphasized the importance of fairness in the distribution exercise to achieve the set goals and objectives.

He noted that the gesture was timely, as the Emirate has received reports from District Heads about the high price of fertilizer impeding farming during the 2024 rainy season, potentially causing food shortages.

Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II added that ensuring the fertilizer reaches the intended beneficiaries and providing the necessary farm inputs will significantly assist in achieving a bumper harvest.

He urged farmers to judiciously utilize the given resources.

The Emir also called on well-to-do individuals, philanthropists, and those capable in society to empower farmers with inputs and aid the needy during these trying times.

He commended the Kano State Government under the leadership of Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf for initiating people-oriented projects aimed at uplifting the standard of living of Kano’s populace.

Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II prayed for peace, unity, stability, prosperity, and economic development in the state and beyond.

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Dangote refinery insists international oil companies are frustrating its crude supply demands

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Management of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has commended the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for its various interventions in the oil company’s crude supply requests from International Oil Companies (IOCs), and for publishing the Domestic Crude Supply Obligation (DCSO) guidelines to enshrine transparency in the oil industry.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Vice President, of Oil & Gas, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. DVG Edwin however said: “If the Domestic Crude Supply Obligation (DCSO) guidelines are diligently implemented, this will ensure that we deal directly with the companies producing the crude oil in Nigeria as stipulated by the PIA.”

Edwin insisted that IOCs operating in Nigeria have consistently frustrated the company’s requests for locally produced crude as feedstock for its refining process.

He highlighted that when cargoes are offered to the oil company by the trading arms, it is sometimes at a $2-$4 (per barrel) premium above the official price set by NUPRC. “As an example, we paid $96.23 per barrel for a cargo of Bonga crude grade in April (excluding transport). The price consisted of $90.15 dated Brent price + $5.08 NNPC premium (NSP) + $1 trader premium. In the same month, we were able to buy WTI at a dated Brent price of $90.15 + $0.93 trader premium including transport. When NNPC subsequently lowered its premium based on market feedback that it was too high, some traders then started asking us for a premium of up to $4m over and above the NSP for a cargo of Bonny Light”

“Data on platforms like Platts and Argus shows that the price offered to us is way higher than the market prices tracked by these platforms. We recently had to escalate this to NUPRC”, Edwin said and urged the regulatory commission to take a second look at the issue of pricing.

Edwin’s response came against the background of a statement by the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, in an interview on ARISE News TV said that “it is ‘erroneous’ for one to say that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) are refusing to make crude oil available to domestic refiners, as the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has a stipulation that calls for a willing buyer-willing seller relationship.”

Edwin noted that “The NUPRC has been very supportive to the Dangote Refinery as they have intervened several times to help us secure crude supply. However, the NUPRC Chief Executive was probably misquoted by some people hence his statement that IOCs did not refuse to sell to us. To set the records straight, we would like to recap the facts below.

“Aside from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), to date, we have only purchased crude directly from one other local producer (Sapetro). All other producers refer us to their international trading arms.

“These international trading arms are non-value adding middlemen who sit abroad and earn margin from crude being produced and consumed in Nigeria. They are not bound by Nigerian laws and do not pay tax in Nigeria on the unjustifiable margin they earn.

“The trading arm of one of the IOCs refused to sell to us directly and asked us to find a middleman who would buy from them and then sell to us at a margin. We dialogued with them for 9 months and in the end, we had to escalate to NUPRC who helped resolve the situation,” Edwin stated.

According to him, “When we entered the market to purchase our crude requirement for August, the international trading arms told us that they had entered their Nigerian cargoes into a Pertamina (the Indonesia National Oil Company) tender, and we had to wait for the tender to conclude to see what is still available.

“This is not the first time. In many cases, particular crude grades we wish to buy are sold to Indian or other Asian refiners even before the cargoes are formally allocated in the curtailment meeting chaired by NUPRC.

“However, we would like to urge NUPRC to take a second look at the issue of pricing. NUPRC has severally asserted that transactions should be on a willing seller / willing buyer basis. The challenge however is that market liquidity (many sellers / many buyers in the market at the same time) is a precondition for this. Where a refinery needs a particular crude grade loading at a particular time then there is typically only one participant on either side of the market.

“It is to avoid the problem of price gouging in an illiquid market that the domestic gas supply obligation specifies volume obligation per producer and a formula for transparently determining pricing. The fact that the domestic crude supply obligation as defined in the PIA has gaps is no reason for wisdom not to prevail”, Edwin stated.

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