Advertising without Permission: NCC to Fine Defaulters N10 Million

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Eugene Juwah

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THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, will fine any telecommunication operator that publishes advertisements or promotion without getting the necessary approvals from the commission the sum of N10 million. Eugene Juwah, executive vice-chairman, NCC, said the new sanction would be part of NCC’s regulations and guidelines for all telecom operators.

The draft enforcement regulation was an amendment of the previous regulations issued to the industry in 2005. However, he said operators would now be required to submit their advertisement copies for approval, 14 days before publication or roll out in the media. When finalised, he said the regulations would provide a more robust framework for effective and efficient processes and procedures for carrying out enforcement in the industry. “These regulations have been amended to reflect best practice which is in tandem with global benchmark,” he said.

Juwah made the disclosure, while speaking on the sideline of its 2015 public inquiries on the draft enforcement process, regulations and SIM replacement guidelines in Abuja, on Tuesday, July 14. “The fine of N10 million is not really on the high side if you consider the fact that the fines are being increased from N5 million to N10 million. What has happened in the industry is that there has been a rapid growth and we have noticed that the incidence of non-compliance to our regulations has been increasing and because of the progress and success of the industry, we see that the fines of 10 years ago are small and they can pay it. And if they can afford to disobey the regulations and afford to pay the fines, it means the fines are no longer a deterrent to them. So what we have done is to increase the fines and make it more painful for them if they do not comply with our regulations.”

According to him, the forum was part of the commission’s rule-making process that aims at ensuring wide consultation in the development of regulatory instruments by the commission in accordance with the NCC Act. Should the operators continue to disobey its regulations, NCC will move further to withhold its regulatory assistance to them, adding: “So if you apply for example, to get numbers for your network, we won’t respond.

“For example, the commission does give a lot of regulatory assistance. It is our functions to approve payments software for telecommunication companies, it is a regulatory assistance. If you spend your money and buy software and you want to remit overseas, you have to obtain our approval and if we have withheld our regulatory assistance…. so we have actions to make it painful if you continue to disobey our regulations,” Juwah said.

— Jul 27, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT

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