Nigeria businesses may have lost N150.46bn ($366.88m) since the Federal Government’s ban on Twitter took effect in the country on June 5.
This figure was calculated based on the NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool. According to the tool, it costs Nigeria’s economy N102.77m ($250,600) every hour to ban Twitter.
It has been 1,464 hours (61 days) since the ban. In that time period, Nigeria may have lost N150.46bn.
The NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool estimates the economic impact of an internet disruption, mobile data blackout or app restriction in a nation using indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat and U.S. Census.
The Federal Government had on June 4 announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. Telecommunication companies started blocking access to Twitter on June 5, after they received a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission to block access to Twitter.
The FG had cited the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence as the reason for the suspension.
Following the ban, groups including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, had dragged the Federal Government to the ECOWAS court.
The Federal Government told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it had not stopped Nigerians from using Twitter, adding that many Nigerians still used it every day.
This was in a counter-affidavit the government deposed to in response to an originating motion filed by human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong.
The affidavit said, “The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.
“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.”
According to a report by Statista, Nigeria has about 33 million active social media users, with about 26 per cent on Twitter.
Since the ban, some Nigerians have migrated to the use of Virtual Private Networks.
ExpressVPN said in June that it recorded an increase of over 200 per cent in web traffic from Nigeria since the Federal Government banned Twitter.
VPN works by changing the location of devices they run on. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises have said this has not been good for their businesses.
In a report in The PUNCH, financial planner, Kalu Aja said, “Social media enables the brand to talk directly to consumers. It’s direct marketing, specific and targeted. There is no organisation on earth, profit or not-for-profit, without some form of advocacy via social media.
“The Twitter ban raises a narrative about doing business in Nigeria, and it’s not a good narrative. Specifically, Twitter and social media allow Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and sole proprietors with zero marketing budgets but a smartphone to build and communicate a brand promise.”
Olanregun Ayodele who sells women’s and men’s clothing on Twitter said, “Twitter was very important to my business. I got a lot of customers from Twitter.
“I can’t put an amount to it. But I have made money to sustain myself and my family from Twitter. Since the ban began, business has been stressful and tiring. Business is dry. Normally the end of the month is always booming but since the ban, it’s been so slow.
“People coming to my DM have reduced a lot; VPN has reduced lots of people and followers on Twitter.”
Another SME entrepreneur, Babatunde Motunrayo, who sells female accessories on Twitter said, “Twitter was very helpful. I got 75 per cent sales here, compared to other apps I sell on. I use Instagram too but make more sales from Twitter.
“It’s not been the same. Sales have been poor. Having to turn on and off your VPN most times makes you reply to clients late and before you know it, you’ve lost the client because some say they’ve got it from another vendor. Sometimes you won’t get messages early. Some people stopped using Twitter outright.”
Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger
Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.
The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.
A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.
The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.
Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”
Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.
The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.
“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”
In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.
He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.
NBS Report: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Dropped Further to 17.01% in August
Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped by 0.37 per cent to 17.01 per cent (year-on-year) in August, from the 17.38 per cent recorded in July.
This was disclosed in the Consumer Price Index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
According to the report, composite food index also dropped to 20.30 per cent against 21.03 per cent in July.
“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, food products n.e.c, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa,” the report read in part.
At the same time, the country’s urban inflation rate fell to 17.59 per cent year-on-year, from 18.01 per cent recorded two months ago, rural inflation rate tapered to 16.43 per cent from a previous 16.75 per cent, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce dropped by 0.31 per cent to 13.41 per cent in from 13.72 per cent recorded in July.
“The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 17.19 per cent in August 2021. This is higher than 16.89 per cent reported in July 2021, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in August 2021 is 16.03 per cent compared to 15.73 per cent recorded in July 2021,” the report further stated.
Dangote Partners NCDMB on Oil Sector Research, Development
Dangote Refinery has announced a partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on the promotion of research and development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
According to a statement from the firm, Dangote refinery was a platinum sponsor of the second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference 2021 in a bid to show its commitment to the project.
The statement also said that Dangote refinery was able to showcase its 650,000 barrel per day project and the research and development activities it had carried out during the construction of the refinery at the fair.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, commended the company’s support for the fair. He expressed the need for companies in the Nigeria oil and gas sector to start nurturing the growth of the country’s home-grown technology rather just being wholesome consumers of other people’s innovations.
Wabote was quoted as saying, “Analysis of global practices of Research and Development revealed that the combined R&D spend of just five countries makes up 63.5 per cent of the entire global R&D spend. These five countries, namely USA, China, Japan, Germany, and India were also observed to have accounted for over 50 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
“Africa, on the other hand, accounted for less than one per cent of the global R&D spend while its GDP is only three per cent of the global GDP. You will agree with me that there is a nexus between the spend on Research and Development and economic prosperity,” the Executive Secretary added.
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, also called on industry stakeholders and youths across the country to take advantage of the NCDMB R&D centre to bolster adaptation of existing solutions and also come up with new ones to address major challenges in the industry.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was quoted as saying that the theme for the fair captures stakeholders’ collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and position the oil industry on the path of an integrated energy sector, where field development and production solutions are sourced through local capabilities.
He emphasised the need for private sector operators to invest in research and development. “It is important, however, to clear up a certain misconception: The funding of research is not the sole responsibility of National Governments; rather, big spenders on research and development globally come from the private sector,” he added.