sa-nigeria-flags

Pointing out South Africa’s clickatell.com anti-Nigerian Policy

sa-nigeria-flagsRecently, Nigeria and South Africa had a row that would have degenerated into something else, if the South African Government did not apologize.

I said to people around me that MTN Nigeria alone is enough reason for the South African government to apologize. A row with Nigeria might also affect the fortunes of the 10 billion Naira a month SA company. But the truth is that apart from MTN, there are other South African companies making serious money in Nigeria and one of such company is clickatell.com, a South African mobile solutions company.

Before sharing my clickatell.com story let me say this:

I have a number of South African friends but I hate it when their country tries to play holier than thou with Nigeria. I agree that Nigeria is a country without direction and this is due to both failure in leadership and follower-ship.

However, South Africa in my opinion would have been in worse shape than Nigeria, if not for their multi-racial characteristics, unlike in the case of Nigeria, the Zulus have a check on Xhosa, while the Boers have a check on the Coloureds etc. This is really helping the Nation tremendously.

But, is this enough reason for them to keep treating Nigeria / Nigerians terribly?

How else can you explain that a South African company with a registered office in Nigeria does not allow Nigerians to pay with credit cards neither have they made provisions to accept local bank deposits?

The case of Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday Newspapers and how he was forced out of South Africa is a typical example of a continuous negative attitude towards Nigeria. How many Nigerian companies are playing big roles in that country? Treating Nigerian businesses unfairly happens not only in SA but also in China, India, and many other countries of the world.

A look at the clickatell.com contact page reveals a company with only 4 registered offices in the world and they proudly show their Nigerian office address as 7th Floor Marble House 1 Kingsway Road, Falomo Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, yet internally they don’t trust Nigeria enough to transact business locally. Isn’t this double standards of some sort?

If not, how else can one explain this sort of policy?

It’s a big shame to our Government and policy makers that a company such as a Clickatell (PTY) Ltd. has this sort of anti-Nigerian policy and there is really no formal way of complaining.

I kind of like prefer paypal.com’s policy which is total – have nothing whatsoever to do with Nigeria. 

clickatell.com will not rent an expensive office in Ikoyi just to count the number of bridges on the Island, obviously not, they are here to make money and to continually make money they are closing new deals or sustaining previous ones, my guess is that some Nigerian banks are connected to one of their numerous SMS APIs and they are smiling to the bank.

So, what plans does clickatell.com have to at least contribute to Nigeria’s growth?

Obviously no plan, because if they had one, then they would change this anti-Nigerian policy.

Let’s look at my personal scenario.

As an SME, my goal is to connect our new website to clicktell’s cantral API, so as to be able to update our clients via SMS at each stage of their order fulfillment process. In other to test the system, I decided to try with 400 sms units which will cost less than N4000. I happily assumed that since they had an office in Nigeria payment was not going to be an issue. Boy, was I wrong?

Email from clickatell.com

I was disappointed to find out that clickatell.com has no plans whatsoever for Nigerian SMEs because of their none provision of suitable payment options. What amazed me most is the email I got from clickatell.com informing me that the only option I had is to do a wire transfer to South Africa – incredible!

South Africa

Now consider this: a wire transfer of N4,000 (less than $30) will cost us an additional fee of almost N5,000 if any Nigerian bank is to execute the transfer for you.

I have done business with numerous South African companies that have no offices in Nigeria and they gladly accept my GTB issued visa card. How come a company that makes money from this country has an anti-citizens policy?

I can make do without clickatell.com and therefore this is my own voice against this policy, whether it is changed or not, I have made my point. If you’re a blogger out there then I urge you to re-broadcast, be the defender of the defenceless.

Now tell me, isn’t clickatell.com’s policy anti-Nigerian and anti small business?

Update: Clickatell.com called to apologize over this incidence and offered to help in anyway possible but I declined.

Facts about Fuel Subsidy you must know by Pastor Tunde Bakare

The fuel subsidy debate is currently the most burning National issue and I think it will remain that way for a while. I got wind of Pastor Tunde Bakare’s thoughts on fuel subsidy and decided to publish it.

Please read, digest and share. I recently wrote “My Thoughts on the fuel subsidy removal policy.”

…… from Pastor Tunde Bakare
fuel subsidy

1) DEFINITION

To subsidise is to sell a product below the cost of production. Since the federal government has been secretive about the state of our refineries and their production capacity, we will focus on importation rather than production. So, in essence, within the Nigerian fuel subsidy context, to subsidise is to sell petrol below the cost of importation.

2) THE UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

The Nigerian government claims that Nigerians consume 34 million litres of petrol per day. The government has also said publicly that N141 per litre is the unsubsidised pump price of petrol imported into Nigeria. (N131.70 kobo being the landing price and N9.30 kobo being profit.)

3) ANNUAL COST OF IMPORTATION

Daily Fuel Consumption: 34 million litres Cost at Pump: N141.00 No. of days in a regular year: 365 days Total cost of all petrol imported yearly into Nigeria:

Litres Naira Days 34m x 141 x 365 = N1.75 trillion

4) COST BORNE BY THE CONSUMERS

Nigerians have been paying N65 per litre for fuel, haven’t we? Therefore, cost borne by the consumers =

Litres Naira Days 34m x 65 x 365 = N807 billion

5) COST OF SUBSIDY BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT

In 2011 alone, government claimed to have spent N1.3 trillion by October – the bill for the full year, assuming a constant rate of consumption is N1.56 trillion.

Consequently, the true cost of fuel subsidy borne by the government is: Total cost of importation minus total borne by consumers, i.e. N1.75 trillion minus N807 billion = N943 billion.

Unexplainable difference: N617 billion

The federal government of Nigeria cannot explain the difference between the amount actually disbursed for fuel subsidy and the cost borne by Nigerians (N1.56 trillion minus N943 billion = N617 billion).
fuel subsidy

6) BOGUS CLAIM BY THE GOVERNMENT

A government official has claimed that the shortfall of N617 billion is what goes to subsidising our neighbours through smuggling. This is pathetic. But let us assume (assumption being the lowest level of knowledge) that the government is unable to protect our borders and checkmate the brisk smuggling going on. Even then, the figures still don’t add up. This is because even if 50% of the petrol consumed in each of our neighbouring countries is illegally exported from Nigeria, the figures are still inaccurate. Why?

WORLD BANK’S FIGURES: POPULATIONS OF WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES

NIGERIA: 158.4 million BENIN: 8.8 million TOGO: 6 million CAMEROUN: 19.2 million NIGER: 15.5 million CHAD: 11.2 million GHANA: 24.4 million

The total population of all our six (6) neighbours is 85.5 million.

Let’s do some more arithmetic:

a) Rate of Petrol Consumption in Nigeria: Total consumed divided by total population:

34 million litres divided by 158.8 million people = 0.21 litres per person per day.

b) Rate of Petrol Consumption in all our 6 neighbouring countries, assumed to be the same as Nigeria:

0.2 litres x 85.5 million people = 18.35 million litres per day

Now, if we assume that 50% of the petrol consumed in all the six neighbouring countries comes from Nigeria, this value come to 9.18 million litres per day.

7) PATHETIC ABSURDITY

There are two illogicalities flowing from this smuggling saga.

a) If 9.18 million litres of petrol is truly smuggled out of our borders per day, then ours is the most porous nation in the word. This is why: The biggest fuel tankers in Nigeria have a capacity of about 36,000 litres. To smuggle 9.18 million litres of fuel, you need 254 trucks.

What our government is telling us is that 254 huge tankers pass through our borders every day and they cannot do anything about it. This is not just acute incompetence, but also a serious security challenge. For if the government cannot stop 254 tanker trailers from crossing the border daily, how can they stop importation of weapons or even invasion by a foreign country?

b) 2nd illogicality: Even if we believe the government and assume that about 9.18 million litres is actually taken to our neighbours by way of smuggling every day, and all this is subsidised by the Nigerian government, the figures being touted as fuel subsidy still don’t add up. This is why:

Difference between pump price before and after fuel subsidy removal = N141.00 – N65.00 = N76.00

Total spent on subsidizing petrol to our neighbours annually = N76.00 x 9.18 million litres x 365 days = N255 billion

If you take the N255 billion away from the N617 billion shortfall that the government cannot explain, there is still a shortfall of N362 billion. The government still needs to tell us what/who is eating up this N362 billion ($2.26 billion USD).

8) ILLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS

i) We have assumed that there are no working refineries in Nigeria and so no local petrol production whatsoever – yet, there is, even if the refineries are working below capacity.

ii) Nigeria actually consumes 34 million litres of petrol per day. Most experts disagree and give a figure between 20 and 25 million litres per day. Yet there is still an unexplainable shortfall even if we use the exaggerated figure of the government.

iii) Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroun, Niger, and Chad all consume the same rate as Nigeria and get 50% of their petrol illegally from Nigeria through smuggling.

These figures simply show the incompetence and insincerity of our government officials. This is pure banditry.

9. The simplest part of the fuel subsidy arithmetic will reveal one startling fact: That the government does not need to subsidise our petrol at all if we reject corruption and sleaze as a way of life. Check this out:

a) NNPC crude oil allocation for local consumption = 400,000 barrels per day (from a total of 2.450 million barrels per day).

b) If our refineries work at just 30%, 280,000 barrels can be sold on the international market, leaving the rest for local production.

c) Money accruing to the federal government through NNPC on the sale, using $80/bbl – a conservative figure as against the current price of $100/bbl – would be $22.4m per day. Annually this translates to $8.176bn or N1.3 trillion.

d) The government does not need to subsidise our petrol imports – at least not from the Federation Account. The same crude that should have been refined by NNPC is simply sold on the international market (since our refineries barely work) and the money is used to buy petrol. The 400,000 barrels per day given to NNPC for local consumption can either be refined by NNPC or sold to pay for imports. This absurdity called fuel subsidy should be funded with this money, not the regular FGN budget.

If the FGN uses it regular budget for subsidising petrol, then what happens to the crude oil given to NNPC for local refining that gets sold on the international market?

10) TACTICAL BLUNDER

The federal government is making the deregulation issue a revenue problem. Nigerians are not against deregulation. We have seen deregulation in the telecom sector and Nigerians are better for it, as even the poor have access to telephones now right before the eyes of those who think it is not for them.

What is happening presently is not deregulation (so called fuel subsidy removal) but an all-time high fuel pump increase, unprecedented in the history of our nation by a government that has gone broke due to excessive and reckless spending largely on themselves. If the excesses of all the three tiers of government are seriously curbed, that would free enough money for infrastructural development without unduly punishing the poor citizens of this country.

Let me just cite, in closing, the example of National Assembly excesses and misplaced spending as contained in the 2012 budget proposal:

  • Number of Senators = 109
  • Number of Members of the House of Representatives = 360
  • Total Number of Legislators = 469
  • 2012 Budget Proposal for the National Assembly = N150 billion
  • Average Cost of Maintaining Each Member = N320 million
  • Average Cost of Maintaining Each Member in USD $2.1 million/year

Time has come for the citizens of this country to hold the government accountable and demand the prosecution of those bleeding our nation to death. Until this government downsizes, cuts down its profligacy and leads by example in modesty and moderation, the poor people of this country will not and must not subsidise the excesses of the oil sector fat cats and the immorality cum fiscal scandal of the self-centred and indulgent lifestyles of those in government.

Here is a hidden treasure of wisdom for those in power while there is still time to make amends:

“Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death. The violence of the wicked will destroy them because they refuse to do just.” – PROVERBS 21:6&7

A word of counsel for those who voted for such soulishly indulgent leadership:

“Never trust a man who once had no shoes, or you may end up losing your legs.”

This is the conclusion of the matter on fuel subsidy removal:

i) “If a ruler pays attention to lies, all his servants become wicked.” (Proverbs 29:12) ii) “The Righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness. Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and will not be heard.” (Proverbs 21:12&13)

Thanks for your attention.

God bless you all.

Pastor Tunde Bakare is a fiery pastor cum politician.

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What is your opinion on the fuel subsidy removal policy?