Make data affordable for Nigerian students & SMEs for online learning and researches.

Make data affordable for Nigerian students & SMEs for online learning and researches.

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Startup Kogi started this petition to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and

Cost of Data in Nigeria is Killing digital learning, creativity of SMEs and start-ups productivity and growth and will not favour the Nigerian student.

What damage would it cause to the giant Telcos in Nigeria if Nigerian students and SMEs are granted free access to major learning websites such as research gate, Google, Wikipedia etc.

There are 172 million active phone users in Nigeria and about 40 million smart phone users among whose majority consume averagely 5gb data monthly or 3-5k (naira) across varying networks according to a survey conducted by Startup Kogi.

The internet as a commercial proposition is already more than 2 decades in Nigeria (dating from the invention of the browser), and is already beginning to have intense effect on the economy with impact on the livelihood of the common citizen and sectors like education resulting from the Covid.

The Internet has the potential to increase productivity and growth in a variety of distinct, but mutually reinforcing ways, especially on SMEs and start-ups and most importantly education and;

*Significantly reducing the cost of many transactions necessary to produce and distribute goods and services;

* Increasing management efficiency, especially by enabling firms to manage their supply chains more effectively and communicate more easily both within the firm and with customers and partners;

* Increasing competition, making prices more transparent, and broadening markets for buyers and sellers;

* Increasing consumer choice, convenience and satisfaction in a variety of ways.

According to Techpoing

The cost of 1GB of data compared to Nigeria’s minimum wage (then ‎₦18,000 or $50) was much higher than in other countries. The A4AI initiative stated that 1GB of data should not cost more than 2% of a country’s average monthly income. As we explained, Nigeria’s minimum wage presents a much better picture of data affordability.

Based on the RIA’s survey results, Nigeria’s current cost of data stands at 4.2% of the minimum wage, which is much higher than the 2% recommended. By implication, Nigerians who earned ₦18,000 in 2014 were better off than those currently earning the revised minimum wage in 2020. And this is not just because of the devaluation.

In governance, the Internet has enormous potential, now only beginning to be realized, for dispensing information to citizens less expensively and more accurately than telephone inquiries and regular television. Electioneering and other processes in government are being digitized and this will go a long way to stall corruption by improving transparency and reducing electoral violence. The October 1 presidential press briefing of Muhammadu Buhari had more engagement on live broadcast via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of  TV channel's and individual handles than terrestrial of NTA and other television stations present at the event.

Here is a brief outlook on cost of data and it's impact on the economy starting with a quick comparison of cost of data in different regions of the world.

The five cheapest countries in terms of the average cost of 1GB per month of mobile data (converted from $) are;

India (35 naira),

Israel (42 naira),

Kyrgyzstan (90 Naira),

Italy (164 Naira), and

Ukraine (177 Naira).

Compare with cost of data in Nigeria and some other African countries In terms of 1GB per month

Nigeria  (1,267 Naira )

Rwanda (894 Naira )

Ghana (1,400 Naira),

Gabon. (2,300 Naira)

Although there's been decrease in the cost of data from 1GB of data cost ₦1,833 ($11.18) in 2014, when adjusted for inflation, it amounts to just ₦910 ($2) in 2020. Despite the supposed drop in prices, the same amount of data which costs ₦1,264 today is now more expensive than it was in 2014.

The average Nigerian student cannot afford to stay on a 5hr zoom class or begin and consistently complete a tutorial on YouTube or start a season on LinkedIn Learning platform and stay through to the end because the data consumption for such heavy projects would be enough for him to stay online for 30 days to keep a tab on his social media.

Without factoring in devaluation, the cost of 1GB of data seems to have dropped by 75%. With devaluation alone, it seems to have dropped by just 45%. But when the drop in the value of money is introduced into the equation, it becomes evident that there has been a 38% increase.

The same narrative applies across several other sectors, but I want you from your experience to determine if the cost of Internet data has really dropped over the years, or if it has risen.

Nigeria will keep looking up to India for expert healthcare attention and to America and China for technological, entrepreneurial and industrial forerunning because those nations have made data affordable enough for the average citizen to perpetually conduct researches, buffer with heavy bandwidth in consulting intermarket surveys and carry out consistent campaigns and reviews without particularly including data into his emergency budget.

A training was organized by an organization in North Central Nigeria to train 6000 young Entrepreneurs in diverse digital courses in October. 65% of the participants feared that they may not follow through to the end to obtain certificates because they may not afford data to stream the videos. The organization had to go out of her way to task her Treasury to fund data for trainees.

This would be the situation going forward if nothing is done. With the inevitably increasing demand on the Nigerian student to be online and take tutorials and engage with others. Cost of data cannot stay the same, else, the poor will have no access to quality learning in the future.

Post Covid has introduced a new age of data expenditure and if we would not be left behind in learning, we have to demand for a more cost effective plan on the cost of Data.

This is a call to Nigerian communications Commission to look into this matter of cost of data and it's effect on digital engagement.

It wouldn't cost the network providers any harm to create student subscription packages that would avail leaning data with free access to basic information sites like Google.com

YouTube.com

Researchgate.com

And other resource based digital destinations.

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