The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was reviewing the information provided by Nigeria’s telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria, and four banks it recently sanctioned over illegal repatriation of funds.
 
The CBN disclosed in a statement by its Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor.
 
Recall that the CBN had on August 29 sanctioned MTN Nigeria and four banks – Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank – for allegedly issuing irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN.
 
The CBN had ordered MTN to refund a sum of $8.13 billion it repatriated, while the four banks were slammed a total of N5.87 billion, which it later deducted from their accounts.
 
The apex sanctioned Standard Chartered Bank the highest fine of N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria received a fine of N1.88 billion. Citibank Nigeria was ordered to pay a sum of N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank was penalized in the sum of N250 million for violating extant rules.
 
However, the telecommunication company and the four banks in separate statements denied wrongdoing.
 
But according to the statement by the CBN, it was engaging and reviewing additional information provided by the four banks owing to concerns raised over the sanctions it imposed on the banks.
 
“The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.
 
“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution,” it stated.
 
CBN assured all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.
 
It also added that “some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the NAFEX window, are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.
 
“Furthermore, the delegation of the issuance of CCIs to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.”
 
 
Vanguard

Following $10.13 billion allegations of illegal repatriation of funds and tax evasion against MTN Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Services (DSS) and other relevant security agencies to probe the operations of the company.

In a statement in Abuja on Sunday, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the Federal Government should spare no effort in recovering the money as anything to the contrary would send wrong signals to other corporate organisations it had punished for lesser tax infractions.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had alleged that MTN repatriated $8.13 billion using irregular certificates of capital importation (CCIs), while the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, demanded for the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears.

According to Wabba, the allegations have vindicated the NLC as it had earlier highlighted alleged labour laws, local content law and security breaches by the telecommunications company.

The statement quoted the NLC President as saying, “We at the NLC hereby urge MTN Nigeria to comply without further delay with the directive of the Federal Government to pay $2bn in tax arrears as well as the $8.13bn it was said to have illegally repatriated to South Africa over which four indigenous banks have been fined.

“Coupled with the demand that MTN should obey our national laws by allowing unionisation, we urge critical government agencies such as the Nigerian Communication Commission, the EFCC, the Department of State Services, Nigeria Immigration Service and the CBN to closely look into the operations of the company, especially in the light of the Thabo Mbeki report.

“On our part, we are, however, not surprised by the unethical conduct of MTN. They are not only engaged in the exploitation of Nigerian workers and turning them into slaves, but have extended their frontiers to unwholesome economic exploitation and sabotage.”

The NLC also called on the government to use the opportunity to send appropriate message to everyone, especially corporate organisations that often paid taxes in the breach.

Internet users in Nigeria increased marginally to 103.6 million in July, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.

The NCC disclosed this on Wednesday in its Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for July posted on its website.

According to the data, Airtel, MTN and Globacom gained more internet subscribers during the month under review while 9mobile was the biggest loser.

The data also showed that overall internet users increased to 103,671,778 in July from 102,805,122 in June, showing an increase of 866,656.

The breakdown also revealed that Globacom gained the most with 574,821 new internet users, increasing its subscription in July to 27,146,075, up from 26,571,254 in June.

It further showed that 9mobile lost 218,086 internet users in July, decreasing its subscription to 10,367,260, as against June when it recorded 10,585,346.

NCC indicated that MTN also gained 134,171 new users in the month under review, increasing its subscription to 39,071,670, in July as against 38,937,473 in June

It said that Airtel gained 375,754 new internet users in July, totalling 27,086,773 as against 26,711,049 in June.

 

Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA

MTN Nigeria has dismissed allegations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over illegal repatriation of shareholders’ dividends amounting to $8.1 billion by the company between 2007 and 2015.

The telecommunication company said all dividends it paid to its shareholders were approved by CBN as required by law.

The telco made this known in a statement on Thursday in response to the claim by the financial regulator.

“MTN Nigeria strongly refutes these allegations and claims. No dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law,” the statement read in part.

It said the company would engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend its position on this matter and provide further information when available.

MTN Nigeria has been bedeviled with penalties over failure to comply with government’s regulations.

In 2015, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had slammed the telecommunication company with a $5.2 billion (N1 trillion) fine for violating SIM card registration regulations directing telcos to deactivate unregistered lines.

Also, the fine was imposed on MTN for not disconnecting about 5.1 million improperly registered lines in its network within the stipulated deadline.

Although, NCC had threatened not to reduce the fine, it however slashed it to $1.65 billion (N330 billion) after several appeals and negotiations including diplomatic intervention by the South African government.

 

Vanguard..

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed sanctions totalling N5.87 billion on four banks for wrongly assisting MTN Nigeria to repatriate funds.

The banks allegedly issued irregular certificates of capital importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

The affected banks are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank.

Announcing the decision of the bank in Abuja on Wednesday, Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said the decision of the financial regulator became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular CCIs issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

According to him, the CBN has asked the managements of MTN Nigeria to immediately refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 illegally repatriated by the company to the coffers of the apex bank.

The CBN slammed Standard Chartered Bank the highest fine of N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria received a fine of N1.88 billion.

Citibank Nigeria was ordered to pay a sum of N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank was penalized in the sum of N250 million for violating extant rules.

The CBN spokesman said investigations revealed that the sum of $3,448,119,321.72 was repatriated by Standard Chartered Bank on the basis of the illegally issued CCIs.

similarly, he said the sums of $2,632,005,623.78, $1,766,263,212.75 and $348,914,501.30 were repatriated by Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc, respectively between 2007 and 2015.

He added that the CBN had directed the affected banks to immediately refund the respective sums to the CBN.

Okorafor, therefore, advised all banks and multinational companies in the country to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.

This will be the second heavy sanction MTN would be facing from Nigerian regulators in three years after the $5.2 billion fine it received from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015.

The telecommunications company, which only just finished paying the reduced fine of $3.2 billion, will see this as another huge challenge posing a serious threat to its corporate existence in Nigeria.

No fewer than 40 million Nigerians in 200 communities across the country are being deprived access to the internet, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said on Monday.

The Executive Vice Chairman at the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, who made the disclosure while declaring open the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Annual Regional Workshop in Abuja, said the development was as a result of coverage gap in the communities.

According to Danbatta, the NCC was making efforts to bridge the gap in the communities in no time.

“Access is very important. Talking about access, I don’t know the experience in other parts of the world especially the Africa continent but here in Nigeria, we have 200 access gaps and we know where these gaps are.

“These access gaps deprive close to 40 million people access to the internet. We need to look at what we can do to fast-track blocking these access gaps, because unless and until we do so, many of our citizens will continue to live without access to the internet, especially the right kind of internet connectivity.”

“We are trying to make sure we are not left out in benefiting from the various important features of the fourth industrial revolution. While we are doing this, we are taking cognisance of the elements of digital transformation system because we have to start somewhere,” he said.

The NCC boss decried the poor internet speed in the country, pointing out that the standard for internet speed in the country, which is 1.5 megabytes per second, was only obtainable in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

He said the local government he hails from has a connectivity speed of 500 kilobytes per second, adding that the inability of some locations in the country to have the standard 1.5 megabytes per second internet connectivity speed was attributable to poor infrastructure.

Danbatta charged the workshop to come up with ideas on how to tackle the problem.

In a bid to ensure the wellbeing of the citizenry, the Dukan Group has launched the CarXie Mobile app aimed at curtailing the spate of kidnapping and other criminal activities being perpetrated in the country.
 
The outfit’s operations Director, Chinedu Amadi, who spoke during the launch of the software in Abuja, disclosed that no fewer than 36,000 Nigerians would be gainfully employed through the initiative.
 
Amadi dosclosed that CarXie will come live in Abuja on August 20, urging the citizenry to download the CarXie Mobile App as soon as in the interest of the country.
Stating that well qualified drivers, car owners and commuters would reap immensely from the initiatives, he assured that CarXie would reduces the amount of monies Nigeria loses daily through capital flight to foreign cab companies.
 
Noting that there are many designs for technology products coming out from Nigeria that engender hope in the early emergence of Nigeria as the giant of Africa, Amadi said that the on-going national rolling-launch of the CarXie Mobile App and Swift2pay, is another opportunity for Nigerians to actively participate in national development.
 
According to him, “It is high time Nigerians realized that the only way to the industrialized economy of our dreams is the preference and patronage of Made in Nigeria products and Services. The preference for everything foreign must end in the face of products and services that meet global standards. We therefore ask Nigerians to support and partner made in Nigeria by Nigerians for Nigerians.
 
“The CarXie Mobile App, tested and available in the Google Play store and in the very discerning Apples Store, comes on board with awesome features that resolve a number of the challenges that have threatened the growth of the transport sector in Nigeria. These features include how to make car theft and kidnapping impracticable – a rider is expected to issue his Bank Verification Number (BVN), as a means of social identification, each vehicle is automatically tracked, and voice chats are possible during rides.
 
“The CarXie App is embedded with the Swift2Pay easy to use payment gateway and card to ensure only your wallet like feature is exposed to online transactions. Swift2Pay has additional features including ATM. This is an innovation to ensure that Nigerians can move around with a smart wallet. Engaging cab owners and drivers, the CarXie Director explained, that only cars made from 2008 would be allowed to operate the CarXie franchise.
 
He stressed that cars below 2008 may under-perform thus diminishing the image of the brand CarXie. Amadi noted that the integrity of the drivers and vehicles are assured through rigorous inspection exercises. Unlike competition, inspection is free and handled by supervisory partnerships embedded in the CarXie offer to ensure quality and trust – the Executive Partners, the State Partners and the Regional Partners.
 
 
Business Insider
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said it has made available N3 billion subsidy budget to assist Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in the deployment of services in the country.
 
The N3 billion has been approved by the National Assembly, and would be executed on a yearly basis.
 
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, during an interaction with journalists in Abuja.
 
Although, the NCC said none of the licensed InfraCos have accessed the subsidy, The Guardian however gathered that most of the licensed operators are facing serious challenges in their regions of operations.
 
Chief of these challenges relate to the issue of Right of Way (RoW), where state governments are demanding huge fees from operators before they can be allowed to roll out their services.
 
Already, iConnect, a subsidiary of IHS Nigeria, has returned its operating licence for the North Central region, owing also to delays in getting approval for RoW, and cut throat roll out charges by state agencies.
 
Danbatta revealed that apart from the challenge of RoW for iConnect, “the firm wanted a national licence instead of the regional, but we see that distorting the whole plan if given. That licence will be reissued to another operator that is ready.”
 
According to him, the InfraCo initiative was targeted at helping Nigeria meet the 30 per cent broadband penetration by the end of the year.
He urged operators to roll out, warning that the one-year grace handed InfraCo licensees may be reduced to six months, saying: “the Commission doesn’t want the operators to become idle with the licence. Any operator, which failed to roll out within one year, may have the licence withdrawn.”
 
Meanwhile, the EVC has assured that quality of service would improve soon, adding that some infrastructure must be in place for this to happen, as Nigeria needed more Base Transceiver Stations and fibre cables to ensure services become optimal.
 
Danbatta further said lack of redundancy, erratic power supply, vandalism, lack of required capacity, amidst other technical factors would need to be resolved before services can be optimal.
 
“That is not to say we are not monitoring the operators, or putting them on their toes to ensure improved services, but we also understand their challenges. The assurance is that NCC would continue to monitor QoS, especially the Key Performance Index (KPI), and when it is necessary to wield the big stick against any erring operator on QoS, we shall not hesitate,” he stressed.
Duet Private Equity Limited (DPEL), a principal investor in emerging and frontier markets, has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited.
 
DPEL, last week said it is investing in excess of $50million into the transaction, a significant share of which is allocated as growth capital. Proceeds of the investment will be used to accelerate in select international territories, facilitate the launch of new products and brands, and increase AJEAST’s production capacity and volume.
 
AJEAST is the sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, a leading multinational non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer, makers of Big Cola, Big Orange, and a host of others.With the new investment, AJEAST will further intensify its focus on targeting a young demography of growing socio-economic segments, capturing both the significant advance of middle-income households, as well as the demographic dividend of the region’s expansive youth base.
 
The transaction marks DPEL’s 6th investment in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in sub-Sahara Africa, and its 1st in Nigeria, and will support AJEAST in further consolidating market share, as well as catalysing further expansion across the continent.CIO DPEL and Co-Founder at Duet Group, Henry Gabay, said: “At Duet we strongly believe in the African consumer growth story. As the number of middle-income households in Nigeria and select West-African markets keeps expanding, and more consumers are entering the formal economy through urbanisation, the demand for products such as BIG Cola will grow exponentially.”He added that the acquisition of AJEAST is a follow-up to previous investments in the beverage sector across Africa, saying: “We are excited to be able to leverage our experience in partnership with a prominent multinational like AJE Group.”
 
Managing Director, DPEL, Manish Rungta, said: “We are delighted to work together with AJE Group to continue the footprint expansion of brands like BIG Cola in African markets. With its value proposition, AJEAST is uniquely positioned to capture market share in the rapidly expanding segment of affordable, high quality consumer goods.”
 
Applauding the new partnership, Chairman, AJE Group, Angel Añaños, noted that “AJE’s history dates to 1988, and through our innovative approach and passion we became a leading player in Latin-America and Asia markets.”With plans to accelerate into the next phase of growth in Africa, Ananos said the company sought a partner that has the local platform and sector expertise to support AJE ambitions. “We are confident that our longstanding experience will help replicate the successes we have had in our markets, and look forward to a fruitful partnership with Duet,” he added.
 
Also commenting, Country Managing Director, AJEAST, Theo Williams, said: “I am extremely excited about this partnership with a like-minded ally such as Duet; we believe we can steer this venture into new heights. We are committed to offering the highest quality products that are a viable alternative at an affordable price. Together, we will grow to our full potential, and take up our rightful position as a valued contributor to the beverage industry on the African continent.”
The Company was officially launched in Nigeria, in September 2015, with a brand new state-of–the-art factory near Lagos, and has gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment.
 
 
Source: The Guardian
Akwa Ibom State Government has flagged-off a State-wide Fiber Optic Broadband project exercise in partnership with a Last Mile Carrier Grade Provider for Optical Transmission connectivity requirements of Telco’s, ISP’s and Enterprise Sectors, Boardbased Communications Limited, to provide 100% fiber based Metro Fiber Local Loop with coverage of Major Business Districts.
 
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, who performed the flag-off exercise, applauded the Boardbased Communications Limited for partnering the State Government on the project.
 
He listed the many benefits of the project to include Intra-building remote site training department; teleworking and video-conferencing; reducing carbon emissions and costs as well as improving internal communications; Start-up, intelligent incubator businesses and hubs; virtual offices; increased reliability; improved data storage, economical hosted applications services, educational institutions benefit from improved internet access across schools and universities, and Library and community center facilities improved for on-line educational courses
 
Dr Ekuwem expressed admiration over the use of a drilling machine technology to lay the fiber to avoid damaging and distorting the beautification of the New Secretariat Annex.
 
The project is directly supervised by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Bureau of Technical Matters and Due Process, Mr. Ufot Ebong.
 
When completed, the Fiber Optic Broadband project will attract new businesses to the area, resulting in more tax revenues, large data transfer instantly across multiple users
 
Other benefits are:
 
?New educational facilities encouraged to come to your city.
 
?Police departments have high-quality video connections allowing for a greater number of convictions.
 
?Better traffic management with automated traffic surveillance systems.
 
?Fire departments could have the ability to train staff remotely and utilize the reliable communication infrastructure.
 
?Public Wi-Fi points to serve parks and other public spaces, including underserved and disadvantaged areas.
 
?Reduce public spending with public smart lighting and waste management.
 
?Environmental monitoring such as air pollution or forest fire detection.
 
?Healthcare services have dozens of possible next generation applications and processes.
 
?Intelligent meter reading and parking meters.
 
?Wastewater management SCADA connectivity.
 
?Puts Akwa Ibom State on the map.
 
Broadbased Communications Limited (BBC) is a limited liability company licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to build, maintain and operate Metropolitan Fiber Network and Private Network Links (PNL).
 
It provides a 100% fiber based Metro Fiber Local Loop with coverage of Major Business Districts in Lagos and is the first & only in Nigeria to deliver an all Packet Transmission Network (PTN) and an OPEN ACCESS Solution. We are the first in Nigeria to deploy a NO-DIG solution for the installation of its Cable Facilities.
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