Four major telecommunication companies in Nigeria have been fined for various actions that contravene the rules and regulations of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The regulatory body of the telecoms sector fined Airtel, MTN Nigeria, Glo, and 9mobile within the first and third quarters of last year for various infractions that were unapproved by the commission.
Breakdown of the fine: Airtel was fined N2.3 billion for disconnecting Exchange Telecommunications Limited without regulatory approval, which the Commission said contravened the provisions of the quality of service (QoS) and enforcement processes regulations.
While Airtel was fined the highest, MTN was fined N164.3 million, 9mobile N5million and Globacom was fined N232 million.
According to the statement released by NCC, 9mobile and Airtel were guilty of charging 13 and 56 subscribers respectively for full DND to value-added service (VAS) but failed to deliver the service.
The telcos claimed that the failure to deliver was due to technical and software challenges yet their pleas were rejected by the commission as they were asked to pay 5 million each.
[READ MORE: Why telecoms poor services persist)
“In the course of monitoring compliance with the do-not-disturb (DND) directive, the Commission discovered that EMTS (9mobile) and Airtel subscribed and billed 13 and 56 MSISDNs (Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Numbers) respectively on full DND to value-added service (VAS),” the document read.
“Accordingly, the Commission communicated with the licensees who claimed that contravention was caused by technical and software challenges. Their pleas were rejected by the commission and they were consequently sanctioned to pay N5, 000,000 each on February 26th and 27th, 2019 respectively for breach of the directive,” the statement read.
After the first sanction during the first quarter of 2019 as aforementioned, another fine was slammed on the telcos after an audit exercise was carried out in the third quarter of 2019.
“During an audit exercise carried out by the commission from September 25-28, 2019, it was discovered that Airtel, MTN and Globacom forcefully subscribed some customers to data and value-added services in contravention of the commission’s directive on forceful subscription,” the NCC stated.
The telcos were said to have made refunds to some of the affected subscribers. Nevertheless, the fines were slammed on the four of them. While 9mobile retained its N5 million fine as it was only sanctioned during the first quarter of the year, Airtel, MTN and Globacom were fined N2.3 billion, N164 million and N232 million respectively.
Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve.
Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.
He added that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.
He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”
The minister also noted that the government has licenced two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.
About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.
Why it matters
The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centred around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistic and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.
The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.
“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.
AGF launches Committee on Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal
This initiative will provide the public with financial information of all MDAs.
Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has launched a Committee on Federal Government Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal to enable Transparency on economic governance policy.
Speaking during the launch today in Abuja, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, FCNA, said the committee would provide the public with financial information of all MDAs to promote accountability and anti-corruption campaign.
The AGF said that the Honourable Minister of Finance and National Planning (HMFBNP) had in July 2018, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval to establish the Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal.
“The approved Transparency Policy provides for Transparency requirements, thresholds and responsibilities as part of Government Policy on accountability in line with Freedom of Information Act 2014.
“The HMFBNP, then constituted the composition of the Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee which membership were drawn from MDAs,” he said.
Idris said that the Committee would implement transparent governance and improve the FG’s whistleblowing programme, which would help Nigerians report financial crimes in the MDAs.
He disclosed that the operations of the committee would be accounted through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which will offer its secretariat services to the committee, and enable the committee request information and clarification.
Idris added that the Committee would report to the Accountant General and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed monthly, citing that the Committee would work transparently “without fear or favour”.
FG meets group to access AfCFTA’s $650 billion market
AfCFTA is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has met with executives of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and access the continent’s market worth $659 billion, in mostly manufacturing goods and services.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo during the meeting on Monday.
The minister emphasized on the importance of AfCFTA, as it is aligned to the ministry’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export based diversification. It provides us with a preferential access to African market worth over $650bn, in mostly manufactured goods .
Back story: Nairametrics had reported when Aissata Koffi Yameogo, ECOWAS’ Programmes Officer in charge of implementing AfCFTA rules of origin in the continent, said that the implementation will expand market for the manufacturing industry to 1.3 billion West African citizens, without additional duties and fees.
“It will build production capacity in the region and develop the value chain, and increased export to other African states” she added.
The benefits would also encourage member states to specialise in the production of a certain good where they have a comparative advantage, thus enhancing the quality and quantity of local production and creating more jobs.
He said, “This would improve our competitiveness and the perception of our products and services in the African market. Intra-African trade in Agro products and services will develop our local value chain, create jobs and increase our GDP.”
Today, the Honourable Minister @NiyiAdebayo_ , had a meeting with executives of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group(NABG), on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. pic.twitter.com/GOhVzLVJb2
— FMITI Nigeria (@TradeInvestNG) August 10, 2020
According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25% in the medium term, and once fully implemented, is expected to cover all 55 African countries, with a combined GDP of about US$2.2 trillion.