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Business News

FG increases hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million, moves against monopoly and antitrust

The new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

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FG increases hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million, moves against monopoly and antitrust, Coronavirus, covid-19, Minister of information briefing

The Federal Government on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, announced the increase of fine for hate speech from N500 to N5 million.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the unveiling ceremony of the revised National Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday.

This new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code which contains Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

READ MORE: Why the FG should reverse 6% tenancy, lease stamp duty – NLC

This disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister for Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi.

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The Minister said that the Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. The provision will also open access to premium content.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, ‘’I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights.”

READ MORE: Maritime Industry expenses to gulp N939.5 billion by 2023

In a bid the protect broadcast stations and promote sustainability for the station owners and content producers, the revised code contains law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts. It also contains law on the registration of Web Broadcasting, which will grant the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can be harmful to the country.

Going further the minister also said, ‘’The provisions on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies…obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

He revealed that the review of the broadcasting was done in the national interest as it was necessitated by the Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections, which sought for an inquiry into the regulatory role of NBC.

The Minister also disclosed that President Buhari had ordered the probe of the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the polls.

Mohammed also pointed out, ‘’But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.

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It can be recalled that in a bid to stem the tide of rising cases of hate speech and fake news, the Federal Government moved to introduce the fake news and hate speech bill, which they said creates apprehension, a lot of mistrust and divides the country along ethnic and religious lines.

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Stakeholders and the general public were very critical of the bill because of some harsh clauses in the bill which includes the death penalty.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Macro-Economic News

BREAKING: CBN retains MPR at 11.5%, holds other parameters constant

The CBN voted unanimously to keep the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), at 11.5% and other parameters constant.

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CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has voted unanimously to retain the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5%

This was disclosed by Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele while reading the communique at the end of the MPC meeting on Tuesday 26th January 2021.

Other parameters such as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Liquidity ratio, and asymmetric corridor remain unchanged.

Highlights of the Committee’s decision

  • MPR retained at 11.50%
  • The asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR
  • CRR was retained at 27.5%
  • While Liquid Ratio was also kept at 30%

More details shortly…

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Coronavirus

FG says N10 billion disbursed funds not only for Covid-19 vaccines

FG has clarified that the N10 billion it earlier disbursed was not only for the development of Covid-19 vaccines.

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Nigeria might fall into recession - Budget Office, FG not enjoying dividend of trillions spent on CBN, NPA, other MDAs - Akabueze

The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health on Monday, reported by NTA.

Following the announcement of the disbursement of the sum of N10 billion to the Ministry of Health for the development of Covid-19 vaccine, the Joint Committee scheduled a meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Health for clarifications on the funds.

“The joint committee is invited to note that N10 billion has been released, to the Federal Ministry of Health under the budgetary vote referenced in above,” Akabueze said.

Ibrahim Oloriegbe,  Chairman, Senate Committee on health, said the Committee wanted to know what the use of the funds was for and urged against the implementation of a lockdown.

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“We got to see that what was released was in line with what was already there, for preparing the country for all other vaccines arrangements

“So our economy, we only need to live with covid, we cannot with due respect, contaminate Nigeria with a lockdown, it will badly affect our economy,” Oloriegbe said.

The committee also said the total aim is to see how Nigeria can develop its capacity towards the development of vaccines,

The Joint Committee, therefore, resolved that the Minister of Health who was absent at the meeting should appear before it on Tuesday for a breakdown on the proposed use of the funds.

What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.

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Economy & Politics

Investing in digital economy, infrasture crucial to mitigate impact of COVID-19 pandemic – World Bank

Investing in digital economy will be crucial to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and foster a sustained recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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World Bank, Focus on lifting people out of poverty - World Bank tells FG , World Bank, IFC to assist in solving Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit , EXCLUSIVE: World Bank tasks developing nations to tap opportunities in GVCs, Warning signs: Nigerians living in extreme poverty might increase by 30 million – World Bank, US, China and UK’s protectionism ambition to affect Nigeria’s export, FDI , Terrorism bane to Nigeria's Agric development - World Bank

The World Bank has asserted that investing in the digital economy and infrastructure will be crucial to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and foster a sustained recovery and foster a sustained recovery in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is according to the World Bank In Africa report – #AFRICAN CAN.

The report noted that in a time of Covid-19, dominated by lockdowns and social distancing, investing in the digital economy and infrastructure will be crucial to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and foster a sustained recovery.

It argued that the adoption of digital technologies by governments, households and firms in Sub-Saharan Africa still lags behind that of other regions in the world.

The report, therefore, maintains that government intervenes to reduce the cost of devices and services, avoid disconnections for lack of payment, and increase bandwidth will be key, considering that the road to economic recovery is projected to be long and arduous.

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What they are saying

The report states that:

“The road to recovery will be long and arduous and will require policies and investments that focus on connecting people to job opportunities, which can help end extreme poverty, particularly post-COVID-19.”

What you should know

Even though the World Bank did not suggest the form that the policies and investments would take in the report, the Bank, in a separate report — flagship report – Global Economic Prospects – as reported by Nairametrics on the 19th of January, 2021, has argued that productivity-enhancing structural reforms are required for quick economic recovery.

The Bank suggests these productivity-enhancing reforms encompass promoting education, effective public investment, sectoral reallocation, and improved governance. Investment in green infrastructure projects can provide further support to sustainable long-run growth while also contributing to climate change mitigation.

According to the report:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than 1 billion people, half of whom will be under 25 years old by 2050.
  • It is a diverse continent offering human and natural resources that have the potential to yield inclusive growth and wipe out poverty in the region, enabling Africans across the continent to live healthier and more prosperous lives.
  • With the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market, the continent is creating an entirely new development path, harnessing the potential of its resources and people.
  • Knowledge is essential for governments to make better policies and institutions to make more effective decisions, thus, governments should pay attention to research and analysis.

According to World Bank’s Flagship report – Global Economic Prospects.

  • Investment is projected to shrink again this year in more than a quarter of economies – primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where investment gaps were already large prior to the pandemic.
  • Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rebound only moderately to 2.7% in 2021 – 0.4% point weaker than previously projected, before firming to 3.3% in 2022.

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