News Roundup: NIN registration, Naira4dollar, Microsoft in Nigeria, Ethereum, Bill and Melinda Gates…
Federal government extend NIN registration again
Nigerians now have another new deadline by which to link their National Identification Numbers (NINs) to their SIM cards. The federal government has approved the extension of the deadline for NIN-SIM data verification to 30 June. The original deadline for NIN-SIM registration in Nigeria was the end of 2020. It’s been moved four times since then with the last deadline at 6th of May. This has yielded some gains as almost 54 million people have obtained their NIN. Given multiple lines per person, this figure could represent 190 million mobile numbers.
CBN extend Naira4dollar scheme indefinitely
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the Naira for dollar scheme till further notice, saying all aspects of the operation of the programme remain the same. This was disclosed in a letter to all deposit money banks, International Money Transfers Operators (IMTOs), and the general public. The Naira for dollar scheme was originally scheduled to end on May 8, 2021. “We hereby announce the continuation of the scheme until further notice,” the circular stated. On March 6, 2021, the CBN introduced the Naira 4 dollar scheme as an incentive to boost inflows of diaspora remittances into the country. Godwin Emefiele the CBN governor had explained that the move was also to increase the transparency of remittance inflows and reducing rent-seeking activities.
Microsoft and Nigeria’s government collaborate to create 27,000 jobs
In a recent positive development, Microsoft announced its intent to collaborate with the Nigerian government to accelerate digital transformation in the country. Microsoft, through its Airband Initiative plans to improve internet connectivity by installing high speed internet infrastructure in six regions of the country. The technology is cheaper and faster to deploy than fibre and has the added benefit of being able to travel long distances and through forested terrain. “We are setting ourselves a big goal, to bring access to digital skills to five million people in Nigeria over the next three years,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement. To help reach this goal, 1,700 trainers will provide blended online and in-person training courses to the country’s youth as well as government workers and over 27,000 new digital jobs will be created in the next three years.
Jeff Bezos sold $2.5 billion in Amazon stocks as he prepares to step down as CEO
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sold around $2.5 billion in Amazon stock this week as he prepares to step down as the online retailer’s CEO. Bezos sold 739,000 according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bezos still owns over 10 percent of Amazon and retains his position as the richest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He also has the option of selling an additional 2 million shares, another SEC filing shows, which would be worth around $6.54 billion based on Amazon’s latest share price of $3,270.54 as of market close on Wednesday. This would lower Bezos’ share ownership to around 50 million in total, down from around 53 million at the end of 2020. Amazon exceeded expectations when it published its first quarter earnings last week. Revenue was up 44 percent to $108 billion in the first quarter and profits rose to $8.1 billion. Strong e-commerce and cloud service performance boosted the company and led it to its fourth record breaking quarter in a row.
Ethereum’s 27-year-old creator is now the world’s youngest crypto billionaire
Cryptocurrencies had another wild weekend with several popular tokens soaring to new record highs. Ether, the digital currency widely used in the booming trade of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in recent months, surged past $3,200 on Monday, making its creator, the Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, a billionaire. As of Monday, Buterin’s public Ether address, which he said in 2018 is his main crypto wallet holds about 333,500 Ether worth $1.029 billion. The self-described NFT collector Justin Trimble said on Twitter Buterin, 27, is now the world’s youngest crypto billionaire. Buterin is hailed as one of the founding members of the cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications we’ve come to know today. Buterin first proposed the design of the Ethereum platform in a white paper in 2013 at the age of 19, aiming to create a general scripting language to develop blockchain-based applications. Today, Ethereum is the most actively used blockchain. And Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin by market value.
Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years of marriage
After 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their divorce, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple.” The coupled announced that they have put a great deal of thought and a lot of work on their relationship and have made the decision to end the marriage. They first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Bill’s Microsoft firm. The billionaire couple have three children and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organisation has spent billions fighting causes such as infectious diseases and encouraging vaccinations in children. Bill Gates, 65, is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, and is worth $124bn. The couple however stated that they would continue to share a belief in their mission and will continue our work together at the foundation.
Alarm as India’s virus strain found in Kenya, Uganda and Morroco
The coronavirus strain circulating in India has been detected in three African countries, according to the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Authorities in Kenya, Uganda and Morocco have reported the presence of the variant known as B.1.617, John Nkengasong, the center’s director, said in an online briefing. Five cases have been found in Kenya and one in Uganda, while the Moroccan government is “investigating some cases there,” he said. Fearing an influx of infections and mindful of how transmissible the variant is, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are among countries that have temporarily banned flights from India. While Morocco and Kenya have distributed nearly 90% of their shots, the continent’s most populous nation — Nigeria — has only issued 1.2 million vaccines, or 29% of its allocation, he said.