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NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

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NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

…Engages PwC to conduct a study on competition level

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced the process of conducting a study to assess the current level of competition in the colocation and infrastructure sharing (CIS) segment of the Nigerian telecommunications sector. Seventy-eight licensees are currently operating in that market segment.

The study is to enable the Commission to have insightful and evidence-based facts to glean the dynamics at play and ensure the continuous growth of the CIS segment of the telecom market. The NCC takes this issue as a priority in view of the critical role played by the colocation and infrastructure sharing segment of the telecom ecosystem in ensuring robust services.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Left-Right: Mr. Ajibola Olude, Executive Secretary, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria; Mary Iwelumo, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC; Yomi Arowosafe, Lagos Zonal Controller, NCC; Dapo Otunla, Chief Corporate Services Officer, IHS and Mr. Sunday Atu, Deputy Director, NCC, during a stakeholders’ forum for the consultancy study on the level of competition in colocation and infrastructure sharing market of the Nigerian telecom industry held in Lagos recently.
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Director, Policy, Competition, and Economic Analysis, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

Already, the Commission has engaged the services of Messrs. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), one of the world’s reputable consulting firms, to conduct the study on its behalf, in the exercise of NCC’s regulatory functions as provided in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003. The study is expected to be concluded between April and July 2022.

Speaking at the NCC’s stakeholders’ forum recently organised in Lagos on the commencement of the study, the Director, Policy, Competition and Economy Analysis (PCEA) at NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the forum was hosted to intimate operators in the CIS segment of the telecom market on the study and to secure their buy-in and cooperation with the consultants undertaking the study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Group photograph of NCC staff.
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Cross section of participants.

Akinloye reasoned that, in line with its mandate of creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry as well as ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services, the NCC periodically conducts studies to assess the level of competition in the industry.

“Having successfully conducted competition assessment studies in 2005, 2010, and 2013, the Commission had issued determinations based on the findings of the studies while the outcome of such studies has also enabled the Commission to come up with various regulatory interventions and initiatives to continuously provide a level-playing field for the interplay of market forces. These procedures are emplaced by the Commission to ensure fair, efficient, and sustainable competition in the Nigerian telecom industry,” Akinloye said.

Despite the measurable progress made by the Commission, Akinloye stated that, since the successful completion of the 2013 study, there had been significant development and activities in some market segments of the industry that had necessitated the conduct of another competition study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment

For instance, at the time the 2013 study was conducted, the CIS market segment was still at an embryonic stage and as such, much emphasis was not placed on it. However, “The CIS segment has recorded significant growth and transformation over the years having about 80 licensees, operating in the segment while its performance and activities continue to impact significantly on other segments of the Nigerian industry. The Director PCEA also informed that activities in the CIS market have also attained the targets set out in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025)”.

Akinloye further declared that the overarching objective of the study is to provide current insights into the level of competition in the CIS market segment and articulate strategies to enhance opportunities in the market, as well as ensure the deepening of competition which will ultimately support the provision of innovative services for the benefits of both market players and the consumers at large.

“Therefore, in line with NCC’s participatory approach to regulation, this initial stakeholders forum has been convened to formally introduce the project and the appointed consultants to the industry”. Akinloye informed participants and asserted that the forum provides opportunities for stakeholders to gain an understanding of the objective, scope, and methodology of the study, as well as to ensure that questionnaire or Request for Information (RFI) developed by the consultants to access the level of competition in the market are well understood.

Thus, Akinloye rallied the stakeholders to see the forum as an opportunity “to seek and receive clarification based on presentation delivered by the consultant and to make comments on issues relating to the study. She urged all participants to “commit to the objectives of the study, by providing complete, timely feedback to questionnaires.”

Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Bako Wakil, also joined Akinloye in seeking the full cooperation of licensees in the CIS segment of the telecom market whenever they are approached by the consultants for relevant information either through the instrumentality of the RFI or through one-on-one sessions with consultants in the course of the implementation of the study.

NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
NCC Moves To Strengthen Colocation, Infrastructure Sharing Market Segment
Engr. Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC

According to Wakil, the study is in the interest of the CIS licensees, other players, and the consumers. It will also provide the Commission with useful and evidenced-based insights necessary to ensure healthy competition and a level-playing ground in the CIS segment and ensure sustainability in the growth of the telecommunication industry.

“Also, rest assured of the confidentiality of any information provided to the Commission in the course of this study, no matter how sensitive,” Bako said to the enthusiastic audience.

Earlier in her presentation to telecom stakeholders at the event, Partner at PwC, Mary Iwelumo, amplified the voice of the Commission on the objectives of the study and urged them to cooperate with the firm in providing accurate, timely and adequate responses to the RFI or the questionnaire that would be administered. This will ensure that appropriate information is to obtained to address the challenges in the sector.

Iwelumo stated that the study is to analyse the structure and operations of the collocation and infrastructure sharing segment of the telecoms market, draw out insights and advise the Commission on necessary regulatory interventions required.

Iwelumo further listed three major tasks of PwC in the execution of the study to include: gathering data, reviewing and analysing information that would be sourced from the Commission, the operators, other jurisdictions for benchmarking; engaging identified stakeholders to get feedback and suggestions after the completion of market assessment; and finally to make recommendations and prepare the study report.

“Operators are very critical to the success of the study. Therefore, they would be involved in this critical assignment, as important sources of information, as providers of technical inputs, and finally, help to validate the findings of the study,” Iwelumo said to underscore the role of operators in the study.

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NCC-CSIRT Proffers Countermeasures Against Website Scams On Microsoft Edge Browser

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has issued an advisory for users to install trusted, up-to-date anti-virus software with an Internet security component and to customize News Feed in Microsoft Edge Browser. 

This is part of the countermeasures to lessen the chances of falling for a malicious attack that has been discovered in the browser.

The NCC-CSIRT further advised users of the browser to practice safe Internet browsing habits and to refrain from clicking on links they are unsure of in the face of a malicious attack that has been rated as high in probability and potential damage to systems.

The advisory stated that the malicious advertising campaign, unearthed on the Microsoft Edge Browser News Feed, redirects victims to fraudulent tech support websites and that cybercriminals have resorted to posting bizarre, attention-grabbing stories or advertisements on the Edge news feed to entice users to click on them. The malicious advertisements appear legitimate but contain malware and/or other threats.

According to the advisory, “The Microsoft Edge News Feed is the default page that appears when a new tab is opened, and it displays information such as news, advertisements, weather, and traffic updates. Also, the following are the steps that result in being redirected to a bogus tech support page: The user clicks on a story or advertisement, and the Edge browser setting is analysed for various metrics.”

Based on the aforementioned metrics and prior results, the advisory said “if the user is adjudged to be a bot or in a location that is not of interest, the user is redirected to a harmless dummy page that is relevant to the story or advertisement initially clicked on; However, if the user has adjudged a potential victim, then the user is redirected to a tech support scam website for further exploitation.”

Victims of the tech support website scam could have their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and other data harvested or they could be with malware.

The NCC, therefore, urges telecom consumers and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to install up-to-date AntiVirus software and be alert to the wiles of cyber criminals in order not to fall victim to cyber scams.

The CSIRT is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large.

The CSIRT also works collaboratively with the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

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Zoom Users Advised To Update Software After Vulnerabilities Found

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has advised users of the video telephony platform, Zoom, to install the latest update of the software from its publisher’s official website following the discovery of vulnerabilities that allows a remote attacker to exploit the app.

In an advisory issued on Wednesday, NCC-CSIRT reported that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) found several flaws in Zoom products.

The video telephony platform became popular for virtual meetings in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic with more than 300 million daily users.

According to the NCC-CSIRT advisory, “A remote attacker could exploit the vulnerabilities to circumvent implemented security measures and cause a denial of service on the targeted machine.” 

It noted that “These vulnerabilities exist owing to incorrect access control implementation in Zoom On-Premises Meeting Connector MMR prior to version 4.8.20220815.130. A remote attacker could exploit these flaws to join a meeting they were not permitted to attend without being seen by the other attendees. They can also access audio and video feeds from meetings they were not permitted to attend, as well as interrupt other sessions.”

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

A successful exploit of these vulnerabilities could allow an unauthorized remote authenticated user to bypass implemented security limitations on the targeted system.

The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large. The CSIRT also works collaboratively with the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

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Telecom

NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy

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NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy

…NCC continues to give research grants to lecturers and students in the universities

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged the Nasarawa State Scholarship Board (NSSB) to support the NCC in creating awareness about the intervention projects of the Commission concerning research and digital literacy in order to provide more opportunities for the citizenry.

Director of Digital Economy at the Commission, Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, who hosted a delegation of the Board, led by the Board’s Executive Secretary, Hajia Saadatu Yahya, on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently, recalled that Nasarawa State is one of the beneficiaries of NCC’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) intervention projects such as the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) for secondary schools, the Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), the Wireless Cloud, as well as the E-Health program.

“While we don’t give scholarships to students, the NCC has continued to give research grants to lecturers and students in the universities and provided additional opportunities including sponsoring competitions involving students, as well as endowing professorial chairs in universities across the country. In the last seven years, the financial value of the endowments and grants is more than N500 million.

“Therefore, I will appeal to NSSB to create awareness about these initiatives of the NCC among stakeholders in the academia, particularly the research grants to enable stakeholders to leverage such opportunities offered by the Commission to scholars interested in carrying out telecommunications-based research,” he said.

NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy
Left-Right: Haruna Sani, Senior Special Assistant to Nasawara State Governor on Information and Communication Technology; Dr. Beluchi Nwanisobi, Head, Knowledge Management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Sani Jibrin, President, Nasawara State Students Association; Saadatu Yahya, Executive Secretary, Nasawara State Scholarship Board (NSSB); Dr. Austine Nwaulune, Director, Digital Economy, NCC; Freda Bruce-Bennett, Head, Digital Services and Skills, NCC; Edoyemi Ogoh, Head, Quality of Service and Interconnect, NCC, during a courtesy visit of the NSSB to the Commission on Wednesday (September 21, 2022) in Abuja.

Nwaulune said the NCC has been upbeat in ensuring implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, in which one of its eight pillars, rests on digital literacy, while the Digital Economy Department has been set up and equipped by the Commission with the human resources required to coordinate its programs in concrete terms.

Yahya, whose delegation visited to discuss areas of collaboration for deepening digital/technical training and skills acquisition in Nasarawa State, commended the Commission for the central role it has played in promoting digital awareness and skills across the country and pleaded that Nasarawa State should be given more opportunities to benefit from NCC’s social investments and other digital economy-focused interventions, being the closest State to the Federal Capital Territory, the base of the Commission.

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

“The purpose of our visit is to seek collaboration with the NCC in whatever ways possible, especially in the areas of scholarship, and ICT skills and literacy for our people. The ICT is, today, the engine room of the global economy and we do not want to lag in this new digital order, hence, our decision to seek collaboration with organisations in the ICT space such as your work, especially because you are contiguous to our State,” Yahya, the NSSB Executive Secretary said.

Other members of the delegation, including Senior Special Assistant to Nasarawa State Governor on Information and Communication Technology, Haruna Sani; and the President, Nasarawa State Students Association, Sani Jibrin, spoke in favour of a greater collaboration with the NCC which would add the needed impetus to the current efforts by the state government to leverage ICT for economic development.

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