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Business

NCC to tackle fast data depletion and wrong deductions by networks

NCC has stepped up measures towards protecting the consumers in cases of fast data depletion and wrong deductions.

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NCC approves 1,492 phone brands, warns consumers against purchasing unapproved brands 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stepped up measures towards protecting the consumers by tightening the noose against cases of data depletion and wrong deductions of consumers’ credit through an ongoing forensic audit instituted by the Commission to ensure maximum protection for consumers.

This disclosure was made by the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, when he received Man of the Year 2020 Award from MoneyReport magazine recently in Abuja.

READ: Vector, some Nigerians pick holes in MTN’s data charges

According to Prof Danbatta,

  • “Consumer protection remains a key focus area of the Commission’s regulatory activities; it has accomplished significant improvements in this direction through various initiatives aimed at putting mobile operators on their toes to be more consumer-centric.
  • The ongoing forensic audit, the Commission plans “to get to the bottom of why consumers are experiencing data depletion and the possibility of compensating them for wrong deductions, which may arise from short message service (SMS).
  • “We have instituted and we have insisted that despite the fall in data price, that forensic audit must go on and must be concluded and the outcome communicated to the CEOs of telecom companies.

READ: NCC suspends sale of new SIM, activation to audit database

What you should know

  • All operators will be made to comply with whatever directions that are given after the investigation with a view to ensuring maximum protection for telecom consumers.
  • The Commission has developed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on data depletion, which are designed to inform consumers on activities that may result in faster depletion of their data as well as enlighten them on measures to mitigate such.
  • The FAQs are accessible from the Commission’s website at ncc.gov.ng
  • It is to be noted that NCC has been passionate about protecting the consumers through sustained awareness creation and education on consumer rights and privileges.
  • The introduction of Do-Not-Disturb (DND) has helped over 30 million consumers to block unsolicited text messages on their phones while stern regulatory actions are constantly taken by the regulator against any operator that prevents a consumer from subscribing to the DND service.
  • The Commission launched the 622 Toll-free Number, which consumers can use to lodge and escalate service-related complaints to the Commission for resolution, stating that thousands of complaints have been successfully resolved since its introduction.

READ: NIMC says it has licensed telecommunication companies to provide NIN

Why this matters

Quite a number of subscribers have been on the receiving end and complained seriously of how their data and credit are depleted as they are recharged.

The development calls for a thorough investigation by the regulators to ensure that consumers are not short-changed and that they receive value for their money.

Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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Business

Key takeaways from the OPEC+ meeting

Here are key takeaways from OPEC’s recent meeting as the organisation shows admirable strategy in the global oil market management.

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Saudi, Russia agree to cut oil by 20 million barrel, Further oil production cut required to keep oil price above $40 in 2020 , OPEC + deal to boost Nigeria’s earnings by $2.8 Billion

The 14th Meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC Ministers took place via video conference on Thursday 4th of March, 2021, under the Chairmanship of HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, and Co-Chair His Excellency Alexander Novak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

In theory, OPEC+ is an organization but in practice, the Group operates like a “cartel” as Ex-US President, Donald Trump describes it. His Royal Highness Abdul Aziz Bin Salman is the well-articulated Head Honcho. The manner in which he has high-handedly managed the oil markets was evident in his responses at the latest meeting.

Here are a few takeaways from the meeting.

OPEC+ getting back control of the Oil markets

In one of his addresses, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz said that the OPEC Plus cut combined with his country’s voluntary cut managed to accelerate the recovery process of the market.

Evidently, the market has been in an uptrend since the negative prices experienced early last year. Although the markets have experienced a few hurdles externally (geopolitics) and internally (quota cheats and disagreements), prices have rebounded to the highest since 2019. What makes this more remarkable is there is still a pandemic and jet fuel has yet to rebound as aviation has not recovered.

OPEC+ riding the wave of the financial markets

With the bond market on the edge on the signs of inflation, it appears investors are hedging inflation with commodities. That is why all commodities appear to be on the upside. Commodities tend to shine during periods of inflation. With gold prices melting, it appears funds are exposing their portfolio to oil. Hence, why some analysts have argued current prices are not a reflection of supply and demand. They believe the recent oil price rally might have been caused more by financial players rather than improvements in physical oil market fundamentals.

Caution and Vigilance needed to balance the markets

During one of OPEC’s chair remarks, Prince Salman reiterated how important compliance has been in the recovery process. He also commended HE Timipye Sylva’s in his diplomatic management as he compensated on previous failed quotas and his mission as Special Envoy to Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and South Sudan in complying with their quotas. In his words to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, “you have earned your graduation”.

Prince Salman also reiterated how important caution and vigilance are needed in these markets. He said, “we have learned in the course of the past year, the difficulty of making hard predictions in such an unpredictable environment.”

He further added that, “We Have mitigated the impact of the last three waves of pandemic by avoiding complacency. To buttress his speech, he said ‘we did not cast caution to the winds, nor endanger our achievements over the past year. We have elected to follow a careful and proactive approach that has proved successful.”

OPEC+ unity getting stronger

In every successful relationship, understanding and unity are very key tenets needed. Although Russia has a separate agenda of theirs, with regards to the U.S shale, market share and their domestic needs, they still understand that the ultimate priority is to keep the group united. This was reiterated by Alexander Novak,  the Russian Minister agreed that the market hasn’t fully recovered but it’s in a better state than it was a few months ago. He also stressed the importance of conformity to the pact.

The fact that the group even had a majority consensus on the decision not to rollover cuts for April shows that there is a lot of unity in the group. Nigeria also supported the views that there should not be additional supply.

On U.S Shale and Joe Biden

“Drill, baby, drill is gone forever.” These were the words of the Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who in all indications is boasting that the U.S shale revolution has ended. It appears U.S shale is kneecapped as most shale companies suffered financial bankruptcies during the last oil crash. Also with little Capital expenditure and demand for American oil, OPEC has regained dominance in the markets. Personally, I noted this when the markets still went up after an EIA report on a 20 million barrel build in U.S crude inventories which is very unusual.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is going to have some sort of love-hate relationship with Joe Biden. With talks of a sanction on Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi and other human rights which has forced the U.S to ‘recalibrate’ their issues with the Middle-East nation. However, Prince Salman must love having an American President who is so focused on climate change, energy transition and renewable energy which inadvertently means the rise of OPEC+ and oil prices will have a smooth sailing.

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India and China will have to use their stockpiles

When asked about India, The OPEC chair, Prince Salman said that India should start pulling oil out of the cheap stocks they bought last year. Notably, when prices were down, a lot of oil-importing nations filled their inventories with cheap oil. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister is of the belief that India and the rest should exhaust what they have accumulated during the oil price crisis. This would be disappointing to India, as they wanted more supply (lower prices) to boost their economic recovery.

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Conclusion

Oil traders and stakeholders did not see this coming. Every speculator short in the market will be “ouching like hell” as HRH Prince Salman warned last year. Kudos to Egypt for hedging against high prices as it seems that prices will keep rising in the foreseeable future. OPEC once again has shown admirable strategy in the global oil market management. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is extending its voluntary output cut by another 1m b/d, and the cartel isn’t increasing output for April.

You can find the full press statement from OPEC here 

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Business

Update: Fire outbreak as tanker explodes

A fuel tanker has exploded around an NNPC filling station on Alagbole-Akute road.

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There is a fire outbreak as a tanker carrying Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called Petrol exploded around an NNPC filling station on Alagbole-Akute road, Ogun State on Saturday.

This was disclosed by some eyewitnesses in the area.

Witnesses said the fire started at about 6:45am while the firefighters were immediately contacted, and they arrived at the scene at about 7:23am.

No injury or death was recorded as a result of the incident.

The incident occurred in a border community with Lagos while the firefighters seen at the scene were officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

Officials of the Federal Fire Service were also said to have arrived at the scene of the incident shortly after the fire had been put out.

 

 

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