Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has pledged to turn around the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to enable it compete with the likes of Cable News Network (CNN) if the $500m loan the ministry requested is approved. He stated this when he appeared before Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans to defend the $500m loan the ministry applied for from President Muhammadu Buhari’s $29.96b loan for funding critical infrastructure in the country. The minister explained that if the fund was approved, the NTA could be upgraded to enable it to send out signals that would be at par with CNN, “because we have the manpower and the technology. “He explained that the creative industry was not just about Television alone, but film, music, fashion and photography, adding that there was no better platform to showcase Nigeria’s talents than having a digital system. He said the creative industry employs no fewer than one million young persons directly and indirectly, noting, “If this project is approved, there will be more visibility for our people in the music, fashion and film industries. “In 2014, we made $23m from music alone and about $53m in 2019 and we are looking forward to making $83m in 2025. You can imagine the kind of growth we will have if only we digitize all the NTA stations in the country.”
Mobile Payments Rise 184% To Reach N828bn
Financial transactions conducted by mobile money operators received a major boost in 2019 as the value of payments grew by 184 per cent from N292.02bn recorded in 2018. In 2019, the latest data obtained from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme showed that N828.1bn worth of payments were executed by mobile money agents in the country. The volume of mobile payments also grew by 470 per cent as agents aggregated 41.21 million payments in 2019 compared with 7.23 million in 2018. NIBSS provides a platform for players in mobile payments to enable them to interoperate with banks and other financial institutions so as to offer a variety of services to their clients and subscribers. There has been a steady growth in the value and volume of mobile payments since the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with other stakeholders, introduced the agency banking scheme to reach the unbanked and under-banked population with financial services and deepen financial inclusion. The agent networks are able to carry out BVN enrolment, cash-in, cash-out, airtime recharge, bills payment and funds transfer for customers in remote areas. In January 2019, the transactions grew by 28 per cent to N26.83bn from N20.95bn in January 2018. In the following month, payments carried out by mobile money agents amounted to N30.03bn as against N22.40bn in February 2018, growing by 34 per cent. Mobile payments deals in March 2019 reached N38.44bn, increasing by 58 per cent as against N24.39bn in the same period in 2018. According to NIBSS records, mobile payment deals which were N23.98bn in April 2018, grew by 73 per cent to N41.55bn in April 2019. The transactions worth N46.85bn was recorded in May 2019, growing by 85 per cent from N25.24bn recorded in the same period in 2018. In June 2019, mobile payments grew by 92 per cent from N23.62bn to N45.28bn. In July 2019, mobile payments deals reached N60.13bn, expanding by 155 per cent from N23.55bn recorded in the corresponding period in 2018. Further analyses indicated that in August 2019, mobile payments worth N84.81bn were carried out as against payments valued at N26.79bn in the same month in 2018, recording 217 per cent growth.