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Telcos may be fined N5 million for this reason 

The Federal Government, through the NCC has charged the telecommunications operators to monitor and keep records of calls.

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Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC set to probe telcos over N165 debt , NCC moves to track cybercriminals , Will there ever be a day the NCC withdraws a Nigerian telco’s license? , Brief comparison of telcos’ annual revenue reveals interesting disparities , Beware of fraudulent free internet bundle website, NCC warns Nigerians

The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has charged the telecommunications operators in the country to monitor and keep records of calls and other communications passing through their networks. The commission stated that the operators must have the records and be ready to submit it to security agencies should the need arise.

Failure of any telecom operator to comply with this directive attracts a N5 million immediate fine as well as an additional daily N500,000 until compliance, in line with the gazetted document by the Federal Government found on the website of the NCC tagged ‘Lawful Interception Regulation.’

It is also pertinent to note that failure of the telcos to comply with this regulation could lead to the revoking of their licenses, according to the provisions of section 45 in the NCC Act.

[READ ALSO: Illicit financial flows: Nigeria lost $157.5 billion in almost 10 years – Buhari]

Meanwhile, the commission will not be footing the bills of operators equipment as it has ordered them to acquire all facilities or equipment needed to monitor calls at their own cost.

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“Every Licensee shall, within such period as may be specified by the Commission, acquire all necessary facilities and devices to enable the monitoring of communications under these Regulations realisable. The investment, technical, maintenance and operating costs to enable the Licensee give effect to the provisions of these Regulations shall be borne by the Licensee,” it stated.

What you should know: This regulation on screening calls was first drafted in 2013 but was condemned by stakeholders because they felt it was a contradiction to the rights of mobile subscribers to privacy. However, the document showed that the regulation went on and was gazetted by the Federal Government in January this year.

Nevertheless, unlawful call recording or interception of communications has been going on for years, albeit secretly, hence this regulation only gives it legal backing.

However, while this is good for security purposes, it is arguable that Nigerians do not support it. In the past, intelligence agencies have used operations like this to oppress people and monitor dissent. So it is only normal that citizens would be concerned that their government is monitoring their calls.

 

Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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CBN gives up on its policy of attracting dollars

CBN has given up its policy of attracting ‘hot money’ as it selects an alternative way to fight inflation.

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Godwin Emefiele, CBN expands scope of regional banks in Nigeria, gives compliance timeframe

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a monetary policy communique explaining why it cut its monetary policy rate from 12.5% to 11.5%, the first drop since May 2020 when it slashed MPR from 13.5% t0 12.5%. The cut in rates means it is no longer targeting foreign investor inflow as a basis for keeping the exchange rate stable.

The CBN has held MPR high for years due to high inflationary pressures believing that higher MPRs could lead to a lower inflation rate. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased price of fuel and electricity suggest this is a battle already lost via hawkish monetary policy.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

What they are saying: According to the bank, it believes the higher inflation Nigeria is facing is not due to monetary policy but due to “causal factors” which are outside of its immediate control.

“In the view of the MPC, so far, evidence has not supported the rising inflation to monetary factors but rather, evidence suggests nonmonetary factors (structural factors) as the overwhelming reasons accounting for the inflationary pressure,” the CBN stated.

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READ: CBN offers N1.1 trillion intervention fund to support real, health sectors

The structural factors the CBN is referring to are rising in prices of fuel and electricity as well as cost increases emanating from the devaluation of the naira.

“Accordingly, the implication is that traditional monetary policy instruments are not helpful in addressing the type of inflationary pressure we are currently confronted with,” the CBN added.

These issues mean the CBN faces a quagmire in how to combat inflation as the traditional measures it has typically deployed might not work effectively.

READ: Nigerian banks have written off N1.9 trillion impaired loans in past 4 years

Forgo hot money:  The apex bank toyed with increased MPR to combat the high inflation rate but opined that doing so could lead to an even deeper recession despite the benefits of attracting foreign capital.

“The Committee noted that the likely action aimed to addressing the rise in domestic prices would have been to tighten the stance of policy, as this will not only moderate the upward pressure on prices but will also attract fresh capital into the economy and improve the level of the external reserves. It however, noted that this decision may stifle the recovery of output growth and thus, drive the economy further into contraction.”

READ: CBN Vs NESG: Waving the white flag for the benefit of Nigerians

In 2017, the CBN adopted a hawkish monetary policy stand of increasing MPR and offering interest rates as high as 18% via its open market operations bills.

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  • The policy helped attracted billions of dollars in capital rising to as high as $13.4 billion in 2019. It dropped to as low as $332 million in the second quarter of 2020.
  • Foreign investors have basically stopped inflowing forex into the control as yields have crashed and repatriating it is now a major challenge.

READ: Nigeria’s inflation rate jumps to 12.82%, highest in 27 months

The other option: Deciding against increasing MPR means the CBN had to consider a dovish policy, which requires that they cut monetary policy rates and intervene in sectors of the economy that can address the supply side factors it cited. Supply-side factors are price-related increases emanating from high production, storage, and distribution cost of finished goods and services meaning that price will remain high despite stable or lower demand.

“On easing the stance of policy, the MPC was of the view that this action would provide cheaper credit to improve aggregate demand, stimulate production, reduce unemployment, and support the recovery of output growth. Members were of the opinion that the option to lose will complement the Bank’s commitment to sustain the trajectory of the economic recovery and reduce the negative impact of COVID-19. In addition, the liquidity injections are expected to stimulate credit expansion to the critically impacted sectors of the economy and offer an impetus for output growth and economic recovery,” the CBN stated.

READ: Labour sets September 30th as deadline to go on strike

What this means: By dumping inflation targeting from the demand side, the CBN is betting that spending money on stimulus programs will pay off down the road as cheaper long term credit will reduce cost of goods and services and will eventually reflect in the lower inflation rate.

  • The CBN did not state where it sees the inflation rate and when it will drop to its new target by relying on supply-side management as strategy.
  • The downside of this strategy is that there is very little impetus for foreign investors to purchase CBN securities at very low-interest rates.
  • This shuts the door to the reliance of foreign portfolio inflows to shore up dollar reserves leaving us with investors who may want to return to the stock market.
  • If oil prices fail to pick up and foreign investor inflow is not forthcoming, then there will likely be heavy pressure on the CBN effectively worsening things.

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De facto Government: CBN explains why it will keep funding the economy

The Central Bank of Nigeria provided reasons why it will keep spending on development activies such as its intervemtion funds in the agricultural and energy sectors.

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CBN website states oil price is still $61, Naira under pressure as Nigeria records poor export earnings, 4 key sectors the CBN plans to pump money into

The Central Bank of Nigeria provided reasons why it will keep spending on development activities such as its intervention funds in the agricultural and energy sectors. The central bank has carried on as a form of de facto government in recent years particularly in the Covid-19 months, funding several developmental activities and sectors in the economy.

The explanation was provided in its monetary policy communique read out by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele following the end of the monetary policy committee meeting held on Tuesday.

READ: Despite COVID-19, top Nigerian Banks declare N36.7 billion dividends

According to Mr. Emefiele, it will keep spending because the Federal Government is currently incapable of funding development programs because it is facing revenue shortfalls. The CBN reckoned that the economy is faced with likely stagflation (a combination of an economic recession and high inflationary environment) even as Nigerians still have to deal with an increase in fuel and energy prices. It opined that it had to work harder to combat the pressure the price increases will have on Nigerians.

“The Committee was therefore of the view that to abate the pressure, it had no choice but to pursue an expansionary monetary policy using development finance policy tools, targeted at raising output and aggregate supply to moderate the rate of inflation.

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“At present, fiscal policy is constrained and so cannot, on its own lift the economy out of contraction or recession given the paucity of funds arising from weak revenue base, current low crude oil prices, lack of fiscal buffers and high burden of debt services.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

“Therefore, monetary policy must continue to provide massive support through its development finance activities to achieve growth in the Nigerian economy. This is the reason MPC will continue to play a dominant role in the achievement of the goals of the Economic Sustainability Program (ESP) through its interventionist role to navigate the country towards a direction that will boost output growth and moderate the level of inflation.”

As part of its plans to inject stimulus into the economy, the central bank committed to a stimulus package of about N1.1 trillion through the government’s Economic Sustainability Plans revealed in June.

READ: Banks lay-off 2,477 staff during lock-down

CBN to the rescue: Over the last few months the CBN has been at the forefront of leading developmental activities in the country despite overseeing monetary policy and not fiscal policy.

  • The role it is currently playing should be that of the Ministry of Finance, but with government revenue on decline, it believes it has no choice but to come in as a spender of last resort.
  • The CBN through its development finance responsibilities has the powers to fund activities in the economy that it believes will create jobs and reduce the inflation rate.

READ: UK financial institution to put $5 billion to work in Nigeria, others 

But more recently, it has been criticized for expanding its balance sheets and playing too big a role in backstopping nearly all major developmental programs of the Buhari administration.

  • The CBN is currently spending trillions funding the agricultural sector
  • It has also set aside hundreds of billions of naira in funding SME’s through NISRAL and partner microfinance banks
  • There is also several targeted private sector spending in the areas of power, healthcare, real estate, entertainment etc.

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NLC insists nationwide strike, protest to go ahead from September 28

The NLC has set Monday, September 28, 2020, as the date for it’s proposed strike.

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Ayuba Wabba, Why the FG should reverse 6% tenancy, lease stamp duty - NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted on going ahead with its earlier planned strike and protest, with effect from September 28, 2020, following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the increases in electricity tariff and fuel price.

According to a monitored media report, this disclosure was made by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, after the National Executive Council meeting of the labour organization in Abuja.

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

While restating that the proposed strike action by the organized labour would still go ahead next week, he also disclosed that the decision was unanimously taken by the chairmen of the 36 states and FCT chapters of the NLC.

This is coming as the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), extended its 7 day strike notice to September 28, to tally with NLC’s deadline for a united labour action against the increase in electricity tariff and petrol pump price.

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While faulting the timing of the increase, the NEC at a meeting held at Labour House Abuja, directed the councils at 36 NLC states and Abuja to intensify mobilization of workers and other Nigerians.

READ: Nigeria’s total debt rises by N10.31 trillion in latest DMO report

Ayuba Wabba, advised the federal government to, in the interest of industrial peace and social order, listen to cries of workers and other suffering Nigerians and rescind the increases, warning that failure to meet the demands would make the planned strike and mass protest inevitable.

He said, “The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress comprising members of the National Administrative Council, President and General Secretary of members of the affiliate unions and our state council chairpersons and secretaries of the 36 states and FCT met today (yesterday) and resolved as follows: NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100% as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.’’

READ: NigComSat at risk of losing $150 million Chinese loan over dissolution of FEC 

‘’This decision is premised on the fact that these twin decisions alongside other decisions of government including the increase of VAT by 7.5%, numerous charges being charged by commercial banks on depositors without any explanations will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizens, including their families.

“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive. NEC also observed that the privatization of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result. Whereas, the entire privatization process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion, we are also surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.’’

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