THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has warned that severe sanctions await service providers that indulge in illegal increase of tariffs for mobile telephone users across the country. Okechukwu Itanyi, executive commissioner, stakeholders’ management, NCC, said on Tuesday, April 1, that the commission had not approved tariff changes for any of the networks.
Itanyi, who was represented by Joseph Atoyebi, deputy director, consumer affairs, NCC, at the Consumers Outreach held at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, warned the service providers over complaints of arbitrary increase in charges. He said that the commission would not hesitate to punish errant operators.
Ahmed Waziri, a student of the university, had drawn the attention of the commission to the fact that one of the telecoms providers had resorted to charging subscribers for calling its service care centres. The development led the commission to warn against arbitrary increase in tariff, because the regulatory body had yet to approve new charges for the service providers. “We will sanction you (GSM service providers). We have not approved such tariff on customers service care,” Itanyi said.
The NCC official, who said the commission, was out to ensure that consumers got value for their money, also urged subscribers to take advantage of the Mobile Number Portability, aimed at giving them choices and freedom, to be with the best network at any time.
New NSE Standards for Stockbrokers
THE Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has set new minimum operating standards for all dealing members licensed by the Bourse, effective January 1, 2015. The new standards will cater for all three classes of dealing members (broker dealers, brokers and dealers) and also address the five broad areas of manpower and equipment; organisational structure and governance; effective processes; global competitiveness; and technology.
Tinuade Awe, head of legal and regulation division, NSE, said the agency has undergone tremendous transformation over the last couple of years and intends to extend these forward-moving traits to the dealing members. “Our objective is to transform the operators now with set minimum operating standards in a concise manner that is both easy to comprehend and implement. We intend to ensure that the broker dealers, brokers and dealers have very robust controls, strong governance framework and sustainable operations that will enable them compete on a global scale for the benefit of the investors and the Nigerian capital market.
“The capital market is very dynamic with a diverse mix of local and foreign investors who can invest with the confidence that the dealing members operate pursuant to clearly defined standards that are comparable to those to which broker dealers in other climes operate. We simply cannot afford to be inferior to anyone in terms of size, skill, technology or organizational governance of our market participants” she said.
On his part, Olufemi Shobanjo, head of broker dealer regulation, said the investors will be given an extra degree of protection because the operators they will be dealing with will be very robust, strong institutions that are properly run with good controls and globally acceptable processes. “Another thing this also ensures is that the Nigerian capital market as a whole is sustainable with better investor confidence and even prospect companies that might want to list on The NSE will be warmer towards us if a strong dealing member firm is able to give better information and better quality advise while aptly walking them through the process of listing in our market” Shobanjo said.
Why Nigeria Refused to Sign EPA Agreement
THE federal government has explained why it did not sign the trade liberalisation agreement being pushed forward by the European Union under the Economic Partnership Agreement with the Economic Community of West African States. Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, said the federal government’s delegation to the ECOWAS summit led by President Goodluck Jonathan raised 10 objections to what was presented to the country.
Aganga, who spoke in Abuja, during a working lunch in honour of Li Yong, director-general, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, noted that the objections were done in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy. The minister, whose ministry played a major role in the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA negotiations, said certain provisions of the agreement, which Nigeria was expected to sign at the ECOWAS heads of states meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire, were not in the overall best interest of the nation’s economy.
Under the EPA, the European Union will immediately offer the 15-member ECOWAS and non-member state, Mauritania, full access to its markets. In return, ECOWAS will gradually open up 75 percent of its markets, with its 300 million consumers, to Europe over a 20-year period. The technical negotiations were wrapped up last month with the European Union, which offered a ﾀ6.5 billion (about $8.94billion) package over the next five years to help ECOWAS to cushion the effects and costs of integrating into the global economy.
Aganga said: “The EPA agreement is not ready for endorsement by the heads of state and governments. During the meeting last week, Nigeria raised 10 objections to what was presented to us and the summit of heads of state ratified it. Consequently, a committee from Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal looked at the issues raised by member states, particularly Nigeria, and came up with a proposal. When we went into the meeting, the whole idea was to endorse it; but of course, we had various reservations concerning the agreement based on our model and the feedback we got from our private sectors. One major reservation was that the way the agreement was done, which of course they expected us to sign, would not be in the overall interest of the Nigerian economy over the long term. For instance, in the area of market access, the EU wants us to open our market by 75 percent over a 20-year period,” he said.
The ECOWAS countries that are expected to participate in the agreement are Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Niger and Togo.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
– Apr. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT