FG Reverses 10% Tariff Increases On Data, Voice Services

A file photo used to illustrate the photo.

 

The Nigerian Communications (NCC) has ordered the reversal of the implementation of the newly approved 10% hike in tariff for voice and data services.

While noting that the tariff increase was due “was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines,” the implementation has been halted.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs Nigeria Startup Bill Into Law

“Furthermore, even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the Management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission, in the end, it did not have the approval of the Board of the Commission. As a result, it is reversed,” the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs Reuben Muoka said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Honourable Minister, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has maintained that his priority is to protect the citizens and ensure justice to all stakeholders involved.  As such, anything that will bring more hardship at this critical time will not be accepted. This was also why he obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the proposed 5% excise duty, in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecom operators.  Much as there is an increase in the cost of production, the provision of telecom services is still very profitable and it is necessary that the subscribers are not subjected to a hike in charges.

“In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent on the 12th of October 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators to reverse the upward tariff adjustment. The Commission will carry out further consultations with all industry stakeholders on the best approaches that will protect and uphold the interest of both the consumers and the service providers.”

Read the full statement below: 

PRESS STATEMENT

FG Directs Network Service Providers to Reverse Unilateral Upward Tariff Adjustment

The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has been drawn to media reports of unilateral implementation of the recently approved 10% upward tariff adjustments for some voice and data services by the service providers, on their networks.

The consideration for 10% approval for tariff adjustments for different voice and data packages was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines, as this was within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry. The decision was also taken after a critical and realistic review and analysis of the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria, as it affects all sectors of the economy.

Furthermore, even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the Management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission, in the end it did not have the approval of the Board of the Commission. As a result, it is reversed.

The Honourable Minister, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has maintained that his priority is to protect the citizens and ensure justice to all stakeholders involved. As such, anything that will bring more hardship at this critical time will not be accepted. This was also why he obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the proposed 5% excise duty, in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecom operators. Much as there is an increase in the cost of production, the provision of telecom services is still very profitable and it is necessary that the subscribers are not subjected to a hike in charges.

In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent on the 12th of October 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators to reverse the upward tariff adjustment. The Commission will carry our further consultations with all industry stakeholders on the best approaches that will protect and uphold the interest of both the consumers and the service providers.

The Commission will continue to entrench very transparent processes and procedures for rates determination in the industry. The process is usually carried out with wide industry consultation. It is through these processes that price floors and price caps for data and voice services are benchmarked, regularly reviewed, and determined from time to time.

The Commission will continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanism for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.

Signed:

Reuben Muoka
Director, Public Affairs

19th October 2022

Buhari Signs Nigeria Startup Bill Into Law

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari assents to Executive Order 11 on National Public Buildings Maintenance at the Council Chambers of the State House in Abuja on April 6, 2022.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigeria Startup Bill into law.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, announced this on Wednesday after a meeting with the President at Aso Villa.

He disclosed that the startup bill passed on July 20, 2022, was initiated by the executive arm and seeks to create an enabling environment for tech-based startups in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: OPEC+ Cuts Nigeria’s Oil Production, FG Gives Reasons

Pantami further revealed that the law which holds huge benefits for the Nigerian economy, adopted an approach to allow startups to identify business challenges and voice them out.

Based on the provisions of the law, the Federal Government plans to set up a 10 billion naira fund for startups in the country.

The Information and Communications Technology sector has so far contributed 18.42 percent in 2022.

FG Bars Ministries, Agencies From Using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Others

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

 

The Federal Government has ordered ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to stop the usage of generic internet domains for official communication. This followed the approval of the ‘National Policy on the Government, Second Level Domain’.

Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Isa Patami, issued the order during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to him, the development means the MDAs and federal public institutions are to migrate from generic domain in their websites and their emails to the government’s second-level domain under government top-level domain.

“This policy has been approved, and it focuses more on mandating federal public institutions, ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs) and all institutions as long as they are for government; they should migrate from using generic domains in their websites and their emails to our second-level domain under government top-level domain,” he said.

“For example, you will discover today, some government institutions will engage in official communications using private email: yahoo.com hotmail.com gmail.com. And it is an official communication and someone may retire or will complete his tenure or the tenure can be terminated, and he will go with the same email. And in that email, there are many official documents.”

READ ALSO: FG Restates Commitment To Transform Economy Through Digital Innovation, Tech

This, the minister said, will no longer be tolerated, explaining that the official domain must be dot government dot ng. Pantami noted the move will project the national identity, promote national security, boost Nigeria’s global ranking, fight poverty, encourage transparency and boost public confidence.

“So, this will not be tolerated by the government anymore. Any official communications must be using an official email and that email should not be a generic one, it must be ‘.gov.ng.’ What is most important is ‘.ng’ that is our national identity,” the minister added.

“There are many categories of the second-level domain, some are for military, you will see like mil.ng mil is a short form of military ng for Nigeria. You can see .gov.ng — Gov for government and ng for Nigeria.

“So, there are categories of the second-level domain, while our country top-level domain.ng must be there in our websites so that whoever gets access will know that this website is from Nigeria, while for email, it must reflect the official name.”

FG Restates Commitment To Transform Economy Through Digital Innovation, Tech

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami (File Photo)

 

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to transform the country’s economy through digital innovation and information technology.

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isah Ali Pantami, disclosed this on Tuesday when he commissioned the newly established Muhammadu Buhari Information Technology Innovation Hub in Katsina State.

Pantami who described the hub as an incubation centre where ICT talented youths will be trained and mentored on new innovations in ICT for them to become job providers and contribute to the nation’s economy explained that the project is part of the Federal Government’s policy on the National Digital Economy Policy on strategy.

Read Also: Focus More On Talents Not Certificates, Pantami Tells Youths

Pantami further described digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship as two major prerequisites to digital economy and requirements for establishing and building a successful digital economy globally.

He observed that all the leading nations of today which comprise Europe, Switzerland, Asia, South Korea, China, USA and UK excelled, became stronger and successful with digital innovation and Digital entrepreneurship, adding that the world economy had moved from being dominated by those in the oil and gas sector to those in Information and Communication Technology.

“Katsina State is blessed with talents because its indigenes had on several international occasions or competitions been emerging as the global best.

“What we need is to provide them with enabling environment, the mentorship, and the support they need to be successful and by extension make the country more successful,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari assured people of the state of the government’s readiness to continue to encourage youths to embrace Information Technology, adding that 60 per cent of the current population of the state (7 million) are under the age of 30.

He announced that the civil servants now consume nothing less than 90 per cent of whatever federal allocation is coming to the state hence the need to engage youths in the area of ICT.

He, therefore, assured residents that the newly commissioned IT hub would be put into good use under the state Institute of Science and Technology.

Focus More On Talents Not Certificates, Pantami Tells Youths

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

 

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, has stressed the need for government at all levels and other government institutions to focus more on talent and not ‘certificates’.

He said that it will go a long way in not only creating more job opportunities but addressing problems of unemployment and by extension, solving the challenges bedeviling the country.

Pantami who was speaking on Tuesday during the prize presentation ceremony and the Grand Finale of Katsina National Talent Hunt Challenge in Katsina further urged organisers of the competition to keep the record and database of all the participants for easy mentoring.

Read Also: Reps Summon SGF, Finance Minister, Others Over Corruption In MDAs

 

 

On his part, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari highlighted the objective of the competition which he said is out to encourage innovation and develop the youth potential talents and innovators in the state and the country at large.

In addition, he said the competition will no doubt raise the EGO status of the state and among its counterparts in the country and the world in general.

In the meantime, the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, Jelani Aliyu seized the moment to encourage all the participants to sustain the tempo and prefer themselves to become incoming world best talents in their chosen carrier.

During the ceremony largely attended by dignitaries from within and outside the state, four different categories of prices were set aside to be won by the contestants.

The event was designed to introduce measures that will bring together the best candidates not only from Katsina State but across the country.

Reps Minority Leader Elumelu Joins Calls For Pantami’s Removal

The minority leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu has joined calls for the removal or resignation of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

This is concerning the Minister’s past controversial comments suggesting religious extremism.

The lawmaker on Wednesday raised the issue as a point of order citing a breach of his privilege. He said Pantami does not qualify to oversee the ministry of communications which controls the database of Nigerians.

He noted that the Minister occupies a very sensitive position and the comments should not be overlooked.


(FILE) The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami

 


RELATED:
PDP Calls For Pantami’s Sack, Asks DSS To Probe Minister
#PantamiResignNow: Nigerians Continue To Ask For Minister’s Resignation Over Extremist Views


There have been overwhelming calls for the resignation or sack of the Minister over his pro-Taliban comments.

In reaction to this, the Minister renounced his radical comments, saying he now knows better but despite this, Nigerians increasingly called for his sack or resignation.

This led to a trend with the hashtag, #PantamiResignNow on Social media.

The opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also called on the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately invite the Minister for questioning and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the minister, “given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.”

 

– Overwhelming Calls For Removal –

Human rights activists, social media users, and even the opposition party PDP have called for the removal of Pantami over statements he made in the past in support of Islamic extremist groups.

The increasing calls follow the revealing of audio recordings of Mr Pantami’s past teachings where he declared support for Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

This generated debates on social media platforms with many Nigerians calling for his removal and others defending the Minister who is also an Islamic Cleric.

In response, Pantami denied any links with the groups. He, however, admitted making the controversial statements supporting the groups but said he has since renounced those radical assertions.

According to Pantami, the past radical ideas he was championing were due to age, immaturity, and limited knowledge. This excuse however has not calmed the Twitter storm which is threatening to sweep him from office.