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The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission , Prof. Umar Danbatta , says commercial banks in the country owe telecommunication over N 17 bn for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data access .
This debt , according to him , accumulated following the regulator ’s suspension of its determination on USSD pricing in 2019 .
Danbatta spoke at ATCON ’s virtual forum , themed ‘ Meeting the interests of government , consumers and telecoms companies in the era of Covid- 19 and post COVID – 19 pandemic for digital economy development’ on Thursday .
In order to protect the interests of consumers and support a robust telecommunications sector, Danbatta announced that it had revised the determination on the USSD .
The EVC noted that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy , Dr Isa Pantami , had already been briefed on the development with a view to ensuring a quick settlement of the debt .
Explaining the commission ’s efforts at resolving consumer -related issues , he noted that when the commission introduced the Do -Not -Disturb code in 2015 , less than 500 , 000 people activated the code .
There are now 22 ,722 , 366 lines on the DND , according to him.
Danbatta stated that 98 per cent of the total service -related complaints received from telecoms consumers within a 15 -month period, spanning January 2019 to April 2020 , had been successfully resolved by the commission .
Speaking on quality of service , Danbatta said, “ The commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on quality of service and short codes, and is currently monitoring 2 G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4 G are being prepared .”
Meanwhile, the minister , Pantami , said that an executive order aimed at protecting telecommunications infrastructure across the country would soon be ready .
He explained that the executive order for protecting telecommunications infrastructure across the country which had been reviewed by the relevant authorities was awaiting presidential assent.
He said that his administration was committed to the protection of the right of consumers, most especially telecom consumers who were struggling at the hands of mobile network operators in the country .
Pantami said his ministry was harmonising the right of way charges based on agreement reached with the governor ’s forum .
He called on MNOs not to compromise on the agreement by paying exorbitant RoW charges to state governments , adding that they should report illegal taxes to the ministry for appropriate resolution .

READ ALSO  Nigeria moves to regulate crypto currencies, other digital investments

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Nigeria moves to regulate crypto currencies, other digital investments

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Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday announced that it would begin to regulate digital currencies and crypto-based companies.

A statement by SEC said the general objective of regulation is not to hinder technology or stifle innovation but to create standards that encourage ethical practices that ultimately make for a fair and efficient market.

The Nigerian government had in the past described digital currencies as illegal and warned its citizens against it.

The crypto-coin investment environment in Nigeria has, thus, been devoid of extant regulation, despite a surge in peoples’ interest in the digital offerings.

According to the 2020 Global Crypto Adoption Index compiled by blockchain data analytics firm, Chainalysis, Nigeria ranked highly among other countries where cryptocurrency adoption was quite significant.

Nigeria was ranked alongside Ukraine, Russia, China, South Africa, Kenya, and the U.S. – all countries listed among the top-ranking countries by cryptocurrency adoption.

The capital market and investment regulator on Monday said digital assets provide alternative investment opportunities for the investing public and it therefore becomes essential to ensure that they “operate in a manner that is consistent with investor protection, the interest of the public, market integrity and transparency”.

Section 13 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007 conferred powers on SEC as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market to regulate investments and securities business in Nigeria, it said.

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In line with these powers, SEC said on Monday that it has adopted a three-pronged objective to regulate innovation, hinged on safety, market deepening and providing solution to problems.

 

“This will guide its strategy, its regulations and its interaction with innovators seeking legitimacy and relevance,” the statement said.

“Consequently, the SEC will regulate crypto-token or crypto-coin investments when the character of the investments qualifies as securities transactions.”

What to Regulate

SEC said that its position remains that virtual crypto assets are securities, unless proven otherwise. Hence, it said, the burden of proving that the crypto assets proposed to be offered are not securities and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the SEC, is placed on the issuer or sponsor of the said assets.

 

“Issuers or sponsors are expected to satisfy the burden of proving that the virtual assets do not constitute securities by making an initial assessment filing,” SEC said.

“However, where the finding of the Commission is that the virtual assets are indeed securities (not structured to be exclusively offered through crowdfunding portals or other exempt methods), then the issuer or sponsor must register the digital assets.

“The registration process for virtual assets will therefore involve a two-prong approach – an initial assessment filing to satisfy the burden of proof and a filing for registration proper, either made directly by the issuer or sponsor or where the burden of proof is not satisfied.”

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Similarly, SEC said all Digital Assets Token Offering (DATOs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Security Token ICOs and other Blockchain-based offers of digital assets within Nigeria or by Nigerian issuers or sponsors or foreign issuers targeting Nigerian investors, shall be subject to the regulation of the Commission.

Existing digital assets offerings prior to the implementation of the Regulatory Guidelines will have three (3) months to either submit the initial assessment filing or documents for registration proper, as the case may be, it said.

 

The commission said those to be regulated include “any person, (individual or corporate) whose activities involve any aspect of Blockchain-related and virtual digital asset services, must be registered by the Commission and as such, will be subject to the regulatory guidelines.” Such services include, but are not limited to, reception, transmission and execution of orders on behalf of other persons, dealers on own account, portfolio management, investment advice, custodian or nominee services.

Others are issuers or sponsors (start-ups or existing corporations) of virtual digital assets who shall be guided by the commission’s regulation.

The commission said it may require foreign or non-residential issuers or sponsors to establish a branch office within Nigeria but foreign issuers or sponsors will be recognised by the commission where a reciprocal agreement exists between Nigeria and the country of the foreign issuer or sponsor.

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“A recognition status will also be accorded, where the country of the foreign issuer or sponsor is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO),” it said.

The commission added that “Crypto Asset” means a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as “(1) a medium of exchange; and/or (2) a unit of account; and/or (3)a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. A Crypto Asset is – neither issued nor guaranteed by any jurisdiction, and fulfils the above functions only by agreement within the community of users of the Crypto Asset; and Distinguished from Fiat Currency and E-money.”

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Osun state empowers 30 cocoa farmers with N5m loan

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About 30 cocoa farmers on Wednesday benefited from the loan facilities provided by Osun State Government as a means of supporting farmers and promote agriculture in the State.
The loan, according to the government, was aimed at boosting cocoa production and increase the farmers’ yields for this year’s growing and harvesting season.
A statement issued by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s Spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, stated that the General Manager, Osun Micro-Credit Agency, Mr. Dayo Babaranti, said similar gesture had recently been extended to cassava and tomatoes farmers in the State.

He said the agency was determined to support the economy of the State as it is ready to revive micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
“We are here to distribute N5millon loan to 30 individual cocoa farmers in the four major cocoa growing councils in the State, namely Ilesa-West, Ilesa-East, Atakunmosa-West and Atakumosa-East respectively.
“This support is given to farmers for them to purchase chemicals and other things they need to spray and prevent cocoa from infections that usually to reduce their productions ahead of this year’s growing season.

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“So, with this little support, our farmers can have access to some of the farm inputs to support their activities and increase their production.
“I urge the beneficiaries not to divert the funds but apply it on what it was meant for which is to support their farming activities,” he said.
Responding on behalf of others, the Chairman, Agbewumi Cocoa Group, Mr. Ajibade Moshood, commended the commitment of the state government to revamp agriculture.
Moshood, who assured of the timely repayment of the loan, said, “We shall use the fund for the purpose it was meant for.”

READ ALSO  Nigeria moves to regulate crypto currencies, other digital investments

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