Items filtered by date: Thursday, 02 August 2018
Britain has one of the highest gender pay gaps in Europe, the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said in a hard-hitting report on Thursday.
 
Rachel Reeves, the Member of Parliament who chairs the committee, said the study revealed that some companies have “obscene and entirely unacceptable” gender pay gaps of more than 40 per cent.
 
The committee’s report said it wants to introduce laws for smaller companies wherein they will have to report gender pay levels and publish action plans on what they are doing to close the gap.
 
It also wants companies to explain why the gender pay gap is happening.
 
New analysis by the committee found that 1,377 employers, 13 per cent of the total, have gender pay gaps in favor of men of over 30 per cent.
 
Citing evidence that the pay gap is higher in smaller businesses, the report wants the government to force companies employing 50 or more staff to publish gender pay gap data.
 
Currently, only companies with over 250 staff are required to supply the data.
 
Reeves said: “Gender pay reporting has helped to shine a light on how men dominate the highest paid sectors of the economy and the highest paid occupations within each sector.”
 
Reeves believes that gender pay gap is not a problem only about fairness.
 
“The gender pay gap must be closed, not only in the interests of fairness and promoting diversity at the highest levels of our business community, but also to improve the country’s economic performance and end a monstrous injustice.”
 
Reeves said a persistent gender pay gap shows that companies are failing to fully harness the talents of half the population.
 
She said the penalties of working part-time, both financial and in terms of career progression, are major cause of the gender pay gap.
 
“Companies need to take a lead. Why aren’t they offering flexible working at senior levels? They must look at why they have a pay gap, and then determine the right initiatives, policies and practices to close it,” added Reeves.
 
“The Prime Minister spoke about the gender pay gap as a ‘burning injustice’ and of closing the gap for good within a generation. It’s now time for the government and businesses to deliver on that ambition,” said Reeves
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Akwa Ibom State Government has flagged-off a State-wide Fiber Optic Broadband project exercise in partnership with a Last Mile Carrier Grade Provider for Optical Transmission connectivity requirements of Telco’s, ISP’s and Enterprise Sectors, Boardbased Communications Limited, to provide 100% fiber based Metro Fiber Local Loop with coverage of Major Business Districts.
 
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, who performed the flag-off exercise, applauded the Boardbased Communications Limited for partnering the State Government on the project.
 
He listed the many benefits of the project to include Intra-building remote site training department; teleworking and video-conferencing; reducing carbon emissions and costs as well as improving internal communications; Start-up, intelligent incubator businesses and hubs; virtual offices; increased reliability; improved data storage, economical hosted applications services, educational institutions benefit from improved internet access across schools and universities, and Library and community center facilities improved for on-line educational courses
 
Dr Ekuwem expressed admiration over the use of a drilling machine technology to lay the fiber to avoid damaging and distorting the beautification of the New Secretariat Annex.
 
The project is directly supervised by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Bureau of Technical Matters and Due Process, Mr. Ufot Ebong.
 
When completed, the Fiber Optic Broadband project will attract new businesses to the area, resulting in more tax revenues, large data transfer instantly across multiple users
 
Other benefits are:
 
?New educational facilities encouraged to come to your city.
 
?Police departments have high-quality video connections allowing for a greater number of convictions.
 
?Better traffic management with automated traffic surveillance systems.
 
?Fire departments could have the ability to train staff remotely and utilize the reliable communication infrastructure.
 
?Public Wi-Fi points to serve parks and other public spaces, including underserved and disadvantaged areas.
 
?Reduce public spending with public smart lighting and waste management.
 
?Environmental monitoring such as air pollution or forest fire detection.
 
?Healthcare services have dozens of possible next generation applications and processes.
 
?Intelligent meter reading and parking meters.
 
?Wastewater management SCADA connectivity.
 
?Puts Akwa Ibom State on the map.
 
Broadbased Communications Limited (BBC) is a limited liability company licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to build, maintain and operate Metropolitan Fiber Network and Private Network Links (PNL).
 
It provides a 100% fiber based Metro Fiber Local Loop with coverage of Major Business Districts in Lagos and is the first & only in Nigeria to deliver an all Packet Transmission Network (PTN) and an OPEN ACCESS Solution. We are the first in Nigeria to deploy a NO-DIG solution for the installation of its Cable Facilities.
Published in Telecoms
The Federal Government’s economic reforms to attract investments in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 is said to yield over 83.9 billion dollars.
 
Mr Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement on Wednesday, said the figure was given in the 2018 Making Business Work report.
 
He said the report was presented to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on July 31 by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, during the monthly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
 
On capital investments, Akande said over 66 billion dollar worth of investments comprising 112 projects across 27 states and the FCT Abuja were announced in 2017.
 
He said an additional 17.9 billion dollars worth of investments were announced in quarter one of 2018, as actual capital importation stood at 6.3 billion dollars, representing over six times the value in quarter one of 2017.
 
Akande explained that measurable progress had been recorded in multiple fronts as the economy responded to key government interventions especially in, foreign exchange and external reserves, capital market, infrastructure and social investment programmes.
 
“Looking at the journey so far, the report indicated that under economic growth, the rigorous implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) led the economy out of a recession in 2017.
 
“It grew to 0.83per cent, up from -1.58per cent recorded in 2016, on the back of improvements in agriculture, industry and trade.
 
“Akande said the economy has registered four consecutive quarters of steady growth.
 
“In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew 1.95per cent and is projected to grow by up to three per cent over the year.
 
“”Also for the first time in Nigeria, under the competitiveness section of ERGP, soft infrastructure is recognised as a deliberate strategy to attain economic development,’’ Akande quoted the report as saying.
 
Akande said the report recognised government’s efforts in improving the effectiveness of the system of government, financial, educational, health care, law enforcement systems in the country.
 
He said: “”Nigeria’s reforms have so far seen it successfully move 24 places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings.
 
“”Overall, in the current reform cycle, the PEBEC focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms.
 
“”It will focus on deepening existing reforms, complete pending initiatives and ensure implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management, as well as making the reforms sustainable.”
 
On inflation, Akande said the pressure on prices had eased and inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72per cent in Jan. 2017 to 11.60per cent in May 2018.
 
He said the capital market recorded an outstanding performance in 2017.
 
He said the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index rallied 42per cent and emerged the third-best performing exchange in the world in 2017 (after the USA and Argentina).
 
Akande expressed optimism that the PEBEC would in 2018/2019, continue to improve public service delivery and the business environment for MSMEs.
 
He said:“ “Nigeria must improve its ranking by 45 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index over the next two years to achieve its goal of attaining the top 100 by 2020.
 
““Such an ambitious goal requires accelerated and focused execution and the National Action Plan 6.0 (NAP 6.0) and Executive Order 01 (EO1) have laid the foundations.
 
“”Also, government must institutionalise all efforts and work closely with the private sector to deliver an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”
 
He further said the PEBEC, in the second half of 2018 and into 2019, would focus primarily on regulators, an Omnibus Bill on business facilitation, and consolidating gains for the economy.
 
This, he said would be done through deepening of the Subnational Ease of Doing Business project.
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in News Economy

Google’s recent record €4.3 billion (£3.9 billion) fine is the latest action in a growing movement to tackle the dominance of big tech firms. Until now, most attention has been on the impact of this dominance on privacy, for example the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw Facebook criticised for failing to tackle the unauthorised use of user data by a political campaigning firm.

As a result, some analysts and commentators have called for users to be given more control over their information. But this is a serious mistake.

Google and Facebook make money from their monopoly of our attention, not their access to our personal data. Even if, starting tomorrow, they had no access to our personal data for the purposes of targeting ads, they would still be dominant and hugely profitable because they can advertise to so many people, just like TV networks once were.

Limiting Facebook and Google’s access to personal data of users would make no difference to their monopoly power, or reduce the harmful effects of that power on innovation and freedom. In fact, any further controls on privacy are likely to play into the hands of the dominant firms. It would simply reinforce their monopoly position by increasing the cost of following privacy regulation and making it harder for potential competitors to enter and disrupt the market.

The true source of monopoly power

The tech giant have monopolies because of the convergence of three different phenomena. First, Google and Facebook operate as “platforms”, places where different participants connect. This is an ancient phenomenon. The market in the town square is a platform, where sellers and buyers congregate. Facebook is a platform, originally designed to connect one user with another to exchange content, though it quickly began attracting advertisers because they want to connect with the users too. Google is another platform, connecting users with content providers and advertisers.

Research shows that all platform businesses have a strong tendency to centralise a market, because the more customers they have, the more suppliers are attracted, and vice versa. As the first platform businesses in a sector grow, it becomes harder for new rivals to compete on equal terms. The initial advantages lead to entrenched monopolies and the market converges on a single or small number of platforms.

Owners of marketplaces and stock exchanges make good livings, but they are limited in their scope owing to the physical nature of their platform. But the owners of the vast online platforms are in an entirely different league, because of a second phenomenon – one of the fundamental characteristics of the digital age: infinite – costless copying.

Once someone has a single copy of a piece of digital information they can make as many copies as they wish at the touch of the button at practically no cost. Different versions of eBay, for instance, can be created for every country in the world at practically no extra cost, giving it a reach that goes far beyond a physical auction house.

Expansion is virtually free, with infinite economies of scale. So Google, Facebook and other dominant tech firms have been able to scale up their services at an unprecedented rate, and with unprecedented profitability.

But costless copying would not be so profitable if it were truly unlimited. The final component of these extraordinary businesses is their exclusive right to make the copies. Thanks to intellectual property in the form of patents and copyrights, they control the digital information at the heart of their platforms, such as the algorithms that run Google’s search engine or the software that powers Facebook. Their products and platforms, and the software and algorithms that run them are all protected by laws we have made.

Open up

This contrasts with the most famous platform of the digital age: the internet itself. The internet is a platform just like Google and Facebook except that it is open. It is open in a technical sense because its protocols and software are free for anyone to use, but it is also open socially because anyone can connect to it whatever their background or circumstances.

The internet is living proof that we can have the benefits of a single platform without it becoming a monopoly, and it stands as a testament to the creativity and innovation that this fosters.

Concept image of the global world telecommunication network with nodes connected around the Earth. Shutterstock

It also holds the solution to the present monopoly problem: openness. The fact that anyone can use, implement and build on the internet’s platform is what guaranteed its free and competitive opportunities.

So how would this work with platforms like Google or Facebook? At the moment Facebook and other social networks give us platforms on which to communicate and share content with others. Facebook determines who can use its platform and how they can do so. Anyone wanting to build or adapt the platform, for example to block ads or to create a new social network, must do so with Facebook’s permission.

Such permission is rarely granted. If you’re unhappy with the platform you have little option but to reluctantly accept it or lose access. If it were open this need not be the case. Just as with the internet, you could have had one open platform that anyone could connect to and build on. Dislike the ads? Well, you can create a version that does away with these. Only want to message friends and see their photos. That could be possible, too. Openness means you are not restricted by the whims and desires of just one company.

The ConversationThe solution to these platforms’ monopolies is to make the software, algorithms and protocols on which they run open and free for anyone to use, build on and share. In addition, all users, competitors and innovators should have universal, equitable access to the platforms. Doing this is the only way to give everyone a stake in our digital future.

 

Rufus Pollock, Associate Fellow, University of Cambridge

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Telecoms
Thursday, 02 August 2018 06:03

Forbes publishes Jim Ovia’s autobiography

Nigerian billionaire banker Jim Ovia has published his autobiography chronicling the story of how he built one of Africa’s largest financial conglomerates within the last three decades.

The book, titled ‘Africa Rise And Shine’ is published by ForbesBooks, and recounts the series of events that led to Ovia’s triumph in Nigeria’s treacherous business terrain.

Drawing upon his educational experiences and relentless determination, Ovia was able to surmount many challenges that stood in the way of the bank he founded, Zenith Bank, becoming the billion-dollar entity that it is today. The book outlines the difficult, yet crucial business decisions that were essential to Zenith’s prolonged success and is filled with valuable takeaways for every African businessperson.

Ovia joins a growing number of extremely successful African businessmen who are writing their autobiographies and documenting their success stories.

Tanzanian media and mining mogul Reginald Mengi recently published his autobiography, titled ‘I can, I must, I will’ which documents his journey from a humble background in a small village in Northern Tanzania to his emergence as one of the most successful businessmen in Africa. Kenyan steel and cement tycoon Narendra Raval has also published his memoirs, Guru: A Long Walk to Success, which becomes available later this month.

Jim Ovia is the founder of Zenith Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Nigeria with a market cap i. He is the chairman and largest individual shareholder with a stake of slightly more than 9% stake, which has a current value of more than $200 million. He also owns prime real estate across Nigeria, and previously owned mobile telecom operator Visafone that he has since sold to MTN.

Published in Bank & Finance
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the number of internet users in the country dropped in June by three hundred and forty seven thousand, six hundred and four (347,604) subscribers when compared with the previous month.
 
The NCC made this known in its Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for June 2018 on its website in Abuja.
 
The data revealed that the number of internet users in the country declined to One hundred and two million, eight hundred and five thousand, one hundred and twenty two (102,805,122) from One hundred and three million, one hundred and fifty two thousand, seven hundred and twenty six (103,152,726) recorded in May.
 
According to the data, MTN, Globalcom and 9Mobile emerged the top losers during the month, even as Airtel recorded increased number of internet subscribers.
 
MTN lost two hundred and fifty three thousand, six hundred and twelve (253,612) subscribers to record 38, 937,473 in the review month.
 
Also, Globalcom internet subscribers dropped by thirty six thousand, one hundred and eighty seven (36,187) to twenty six million, five hundred and seventy one thousand, two hundred and fifty four (26,571,254) internet users in June.
 
It said 9mobile lost 222,516 internet users in June decreasing its subscription to 10,585,346, while Airtel gained 162,711 new internet users, increasing subscription to its services from 26,548,338 million in May to 26, 711,049 in June.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Published in Telecoms
Molson Coors is entering a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a Canadian marijuana producer, to make non-alcoholic cannabis-infused beverages.k
It's the latest sign that beer makers and alcohol brands are pushing into the dagga industry.
Alcohol sales have slumped in American states with legalised dagga. 
One of the world's largest beer companies is jumping into the booming dagga industry. 
 
Molson Coors Canada announced this week that it is entering a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation to produce non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.
 
Molson Coors will retain a controlling interest in the joint venture, and the deal is expected to close before September 30. The venture will be structured as a standalone company, with an independent board of directors and management team. 
 
"Canada is breaking new ground in the cannabis sector and, as one of the country's leading beverage companies, Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment," Frederic Landtmeters, President and CEO of Molson Coors Canada said. 
 
"While we remain a beer business at our core, we are excited to create a separate new venture with a trusted partner that will be a market leader in offering Canadian consumers new experiences with quality, reliable and consistent non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages," he added.
 
Analysts watching the dagga and beverage space called the deal a "historic milestone" for the Canadian cannabis industry.
 
"We believe that the merger of the cannabis and beverage industries hold great potential for investors looking to reap the benefits of innovation in the space," a group of analysts at Beacon Securities, a Toronto-based investment bank, said in a note. 
 
Cannabis is set to be legalised in Canada on October 17, though cannabis-infused edibles and beverages won't immediately be available. Molson Coors expects cannabis beverages to be legal by 2019.
 
Molson Coors is the latest in a line of beer companies to enter the cannabis market. Constellation Brands, the beer giant behind Corona, paid $191 million for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth, a Canadian marijuana producer, in October of last year. 
 
And Lagunitas, a California-based craft beer company owned by Heineken, recently rolled out a cannabis-infused beverage.
 
Beer makers may be spurred to pursue deals in the cannabis space as research shows alcohol sales have slumped in American states where marijuana is legal.
 
Adults in states with legal cannabis binge drink an average of 13% fewer times per month than those in states without legal recreational marijuana, according to Vivien Azer, a cannabis industry analyst at the investment bank Cowen. 
 
"As cannabis access expands, we expect further pressure on alcohol sales, given this notable divide in consumer consumption pattern," Azer said in a note.
 
 
Source: Business Insider
Published in Agriculture

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