BY LINDA JACOBS, Lagos, Nigeria
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, along with other government officials today unveiled a Smart Meter Initiative tagged “The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020”.
The initiative is in furtherance of ongoing efforts to address the metering gap in Lagos and Nigeria through the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, in collaboration with Eko Innovation Centre.
The unveiling which took place at a virtual press conference is widely applauded as a game changer as the Lagos state government will leverage the availability of bright local talents in Nigeria to develop and produce affordable smart electricity meters for consumers, and significantly reduce the revenue leakages in the sector and ultimately improve last-mile electricity supply.
Governor Sanwo-Olu in his remarks stated that the launch marks a significant milestone in the implementation plan of the state government towards improving access to electricity in the state and it is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the UN which aspires to drive universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.
He added that increased electricity access is one of the priority mandates of his administration given its significance in ultimately driving economic development of the State to enable it achieve the objective of making Lagos a 21st century Economy.
“This Lagos Smart Meter Initiative is an important way for the Lagos Government to demonstrate its commitment to improving electricity access and reliability for Lagosians. We believe that adequate metering of Lagosians and in turn Nigerians, would increase willingness to pay for electricity, improve productivity, and more importantly, continue to improve the living conditions of our people.”
“Now, as we launch the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020, we call on all relevant stakeholders – electricity sector players, technology experts, investors, regulators – to support this worthy cause as we strive to ensure sustainable electricity for all in Lagos,” he disclosed.
In his keynote address, Jedy-Agba explained that local design and production of affordable meters will be transformational for the industry and the economy at large and therefore urged all to support it.
“Lagos is an important state in Nigeria in terms of size, economy and resources. With a population of over 20million and the 5th highest GDP in Africa, Lagos is by far the biggest economy in Nigeria. Therefore, getting access to electricity right in Lagos is critical for access to electricity in the entire country.
“Electricity is an essential service, and we need to ensure that the benefits of smart meters flow to everyone. I call on all relevant stakeholders in the sector to support this innovative and impactful initiative– industry regulators, electricity sector players, technology experts, and fund providers.”
Similarly, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote said the initiative is expected to provide access to affordable smart meters for Lagosians to improve electricity supply, monitoring, and trust between electricity providers and end users while preventing revenue leakage. It is also expected to drive innovation and creativity while generating new interest in young people for the sector.
“Over the years, despite significant investments and resolutions around power generation and distribution, there remains a huge metering gap of over 60% of electricity consumers in Lagos and Nigeria. This metering gap is what we are seeking to bridge through the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon”.
“In line with the objectives of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) Administration to make Lagos a 21st century economy, we have identified the need to intervene and support the facilitation of effective metering across the state, to ensure the provision of reliable electricity for Lagosians and Nigerians in the long-term,” he stated.
Doja Ekeruche, Advisory Board Member, Eko Innovation Centre explained that a call for application has been sent out to local talents in the tech community to submit their proposed hardware and software solutions using the guidelines stipulated on the Lagos Smart Meter website. All concepts will be assessed based on strict but transparent criteria to identify the most viable concepts proceeding to the next stage.
Furthermore, she highlighted that, “Judges with knowledge and expertise within power and tech ecosystem will review the entries and shortlist teams to proceed to the hackathon event. Final Winners of the Hackathon, in both the hardware and software categories, will win N7million. They will also be a part of the co-creation phase with other experts, and then proceed to the production and testing stage before the full commercialization of the smart meter”
Other participants at the event included the deputy governor of Lagos state, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Olatunbosun Alake, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Innovation and Technology; other Commissioners, Special Advisers and Heads of Parastatals from the Governor Sanwo-Olu administration; key representatives from the Energy and Technology Industry, journalists and other stakeholders.
MTN Nigeria Tasks Accountants on IoT as Panacea for Pandemic
MTN Nigeria has urged accountants in Nigeria to embrace Internet of Things (IoT) and go digital even as the profession is challenged by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The chief transformation officer, MTN Nigeria, Olubayo Adekanmbi said stated this while speaking at the 50th annual Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) conference held from April 5 – 9, 2021 at the Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
This year’s event themed “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Boom for the Accounting Profession and Panacea for the Pandemic” hosts over 7,500 local and foreign delegates. The hybrid event (physical and virtual attendance) was streamed to participants who were unable to attend the event physically due to limitations posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adekanmbi said, “We at MTN Nigeria are so proud to be identified with this honorable profession and we are glad that we are helping to drive this conversation. This is our way of ensuring that in the wake of the pandemic, practising professionals remain up to date and add value to our nation in a changing world.”
Delivering his presentation on the importance of IoT in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Adekanmbi stated that “With IoT, things that takes us years in our auditing, asset tracking and efficiency can be fast-tracked and accelerated. IoT allows you to reduce operational costs because you can track anything, everything, everywhere and you can serve your customers readily.”
“For IoT to work, there are certain things that are critical because it is one device talking to another device. It means that you need an internet that is super powered and that is what broadband does effectively. MTN Nigeria has one of the fastest, accelerated broadband quality in Nigeria. A few months ago, through the honorable minister, we were able to test 5G in Nigeria.
“These are the enabling infrastructure we are already experimenting in Nigeria. Once again, through the honorable minister, we experimented with what is called E-Sim, this means you no longer need a physical sim on your phone, you can virtualize your sim. We can say that Nigeria is on the path to start enjoying the benefits of the possibility of the Fourth Industrial Revolution based on superior policy support we have enjoyed,” he added.
Nigerian Banks Lift USSD Restriction As MTN Reverts Back To 4.5% Commission
- Extends Partnership with Fintechs
MTN Nigeria, commercial banks and aggregators have agreed to revert back to the old commission formula for airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and banking app channels.
The three parties have reverted back to the old 4.5 per cent commission charged for airtime vending through USSD and other banking channels. They reached for each other jugular over an impromptu reduction in the commission rate from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which too k effect on Thursday April 1, 2021.
At virtual meeting held yesterday by the chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola; the group CEO of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe who is also the chairman of the Body of Bank CEOs in Nigeria; Group CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje as well as MTN Nigeria’s chief financial officer, Modupe Kadri, they agreed to revert back to status quo ante of 4.5 per cent commission on USSD airtime.
MTN CEO, Toriola and addressed to Wigwe which was a follow-up on the virtual stated that, “In an attempt to resolve the current USSD impasse, given the intervention of our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert back to the status quo of 4.5 per cent commission.
“However, the banks and MTN Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the costs on 6th of April 2021.” The letter was copied to the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC.
Elaborating further, he said in another statement that “the document was issued by me to the banks on the specific intervention of the CBN Governor and the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy. MTN’s intention has always been geared towards business optimization to the benefit of our customers and indeed the country.
“This is evidenced by the fact that through the USSD imbroglio, we never denied access to our customers. In the current case, customers have been denied access to services by the banks despite having monies in their accounts to purchase those services. MTN will naturally do all it can to minimise customer pain. It is not just about revenue for us.
“The good of our customers influence every decision we take. The CBN Governor’s intervention is in line with our core values. We acceded to his request and that of our Minister. We will continue to live our values that ‘everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the operator with over 70 million subscribers said it will continue to engage Fintechs to vend airtime. According to Funso Aina, Snr. Manager, External Relations, MTN, the links to access the various alternative platforms include:
1. MTN On Demand is on *904# and also via https://mtnondemand.flutterwave.com;
2. Barter By Flutter Wave is an app that can be downloaded here: http://tosto.re/getbarter;
3. Jumia Pay (app);
4. OPay (app);
5. MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#);
6. Carbon (app);
7. Kuda (app);
8. BillsnPay (web https://www.billsnpay.com/. They also have an app);
9. myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng;
10. Momo agent *223#
The Apps can be downloaded from the Playstore and the Appstore.
WizKid and Burna Boy Emerge Most Streamed Artists on Spotify in Nigeria
On February 23rd, more than 70 million songs, 2.2 million podcast titles, and over four billion playlists became officially available to Spotify listeners in Nigeria for free.
Spotify launched with a tailored music experience for Africa with more than 100 expertly curated playlists across some of the most popular genres in the continent. But what got the fans listening?
The first 30 days demonstrated how much Nigerian listeners love their home-grown artists. Four out of the top five most-streamed artists are from Nigeria. Topping the list are the country’s beloved superstars: WizKid, Burna Boy, DaVido, and Rema.
Local hits are also resonating the most with Nigerian listeners. The most-streamed track in Nigeria over the past month is “Bounce” by Rema, followed by Wizkid and Burna Boy’s “Ginger” and DaVido and Teni’s “FOR YOU”.
With a strong appetite for local sounds, it comes as no surprise that Hot Hits Naija is one of the top-streamed playlists among users. Spotify’s Africa to the world playlist African Heat comes in second reflecting listeners’ keenness to discover music from all over the continent.
Podcast listening may be a relatively new trend in Nigeria, but it is fast gaining momentum among Nigerians. In the last month, the most popular podcast on Spotify is “I Said What I Said,” with “Kwality Kontent” coming in second. “TED Talks Daily” came in third, followed by “Articulate One” and “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition” in fourth and fifth position respectively.
Residents of Lagos, Suleja, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Benin City account for the most Spotify streams in Nigeria.
So how did the first month of Spotify in Nigeria sound?
- WizKid feat. Burna Boy – Ginger
- DaVido, Teni – FOR YOU
- Olamide, Omah Lay – Infinity
- DaVido, Focalistic, Virgo Deep – Ke Star – Remix
Most popular playlists:
- I Said What I Said
- Kwality Kontent
- TED Talks Daily
- Articulate One
- The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
Cities with most streams on Spotify:
- Port Harcourt
- Benin City
Data based on Spotify user consumption between February 23 and March 22, 2021.
Download the Spotify app via the Android or iOS app store or by heading to www.spotify.com – to embed Spotify into a website – right click on any playlist, go to ‘share’ and copy embed code.
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