- Call Masking: NCC Sanctions Operators, Bars 750,000 Lines
The Nigerian Communications Commission on Tuesday announced a number sanctions to some operators in the telecommunications industry for their involvement in masking of international calls.
Masking involves concealing international calls coming into a country and presenting them as local in order to make profits from the difference in prices between local and international calls.
The sanctions announced by the NCC ranged from suspension of licences to issuance of warning letters.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the telecommunications regulatory agency also announced that it had begun the second phase of investigation on the involvement of digital mobile operators in masking activities.
Ojobo said, “The NCC has recently been inundated with complaints from service providers and consumers regarding the high incidence of call masking, call refiling and SIM boxing. Generally, the practice complained of involves disguising international calls as local calls in order to profit from price differentials between international and local calls.
“Apart from the resultant loss of revenue by service providers, the practice also has some negative security implications. Following a painstaking investigation process, which included collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Department of State Services, the commission has imposed a range of sanctions on licensees involved in the fraudulent practice.”
The sanctions include suspension of the interconnect clearing house licence issued to Medallion Communications Limited for a period of 90 days, in the first instance, and issuance of a strong warning to Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited.
Others are disconnection of Information Connectivity Solutions Limited and Solid Interconnectivity Services Limited from all networks until they regularise their operations, and issuance of letters to Exchange Telecoms Limited, NiconnX Limited and Breeze Micro Limited, cautioning them against engaging in the fraudulent practice.
The commission also barred over 750,000 numbers assigned to several Private Network Links and Local Exchange Operator licensees. The number ranges were found to have been utilised for the masking activity.
Ojobo said the sanctioned entities were found to be directly and indirectly complicit in several infractions, including covertly allowing organisations with expired licences to transit calls and failure to undertake due diligence on parties seeking to interconnect.
Other infractions include deliberately turning a blind eye to masking infractions by interconnect partners and using a licence issued to other organisation to bring in and terminate international calls, which were masked as local calls to other operators.
Regarding the barring of numbers, Ojobo said over 750,000 individual numbers across the nation, made up of about 31 number ranges had been barred.
The licensees whose numbers were barred are Vezeti Communications Services Limited, Voix Networks Limited, Mobitel Limited, Peace Global Satellite Communications Limited, ABG Communications Limited and Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited.
Others are Swift Telephone Networks Limited, QVODA Telecoms Limited, Wireless Telecoms Limited and Emcatel Networks Limited.
The commission found that some of these firms were terminating millions of minutes, whereas they only had very few active customers, Ojobo added.
The NCC spokesperson stated, “The commission is pleased to note that the incidence of call masking has significantly reduced since it commenced a multi-faceted approach to address the menace.
“The commission hereby informs all stakeholders that the actions so far taken are just the first stage of the exercise. The second stage, which has now commenced, will focus on the Mobile Network Operators and other persons involved in SIM boxing.
“The aim of the commission is to completely stamp out the fraudulent practice in the overall interest of all Nigerians. Accordingly, every service provider that has been sanctioned still has an opportunity to correct the identified anomalies and satisfy the commission that it should be allowed to continue to operate in Nigeria.”
He added that the NCC reserved the right to revoke the licences of such service providers where they failed to take the necessary corrective measures.
Nigeria’s Main Refineries Record N406.62bn Loss in Two Years
Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Warri Refinery posts N406.62bn Deficit in Two Years
Nigeria’s three main refineries recorded N406.62 billion loss in two years, according to the audited financial statements from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, however, the refineries have continued to function below the installed capacity.
The audited report showed the Kaduna refinery posted N64.34 billion loss in 2018, better than the N111.89 billion loss reported in 2017.
While Warri refinery filed N44.44 billion loss for 2018, also better than the N81.60 billion loss posted in 2017.
Port Harcourt refinery reported N45.59 billion loss in 2018, down from N55.76 billion loss posted in 2017.
The Nigerian government has spent billions of US dollars in maintaining and trying to improve the dilapidated refineries over the years. However, because of the inability of the three refineries to meet daily petrol demands of the Nigerian people, the Federal Government resulted to importation that has eroded the nation’s foreign reserves.
A recent report from the NNPC showed that Nigeria spent N2.37 trillion on petrol importation between May 2019 and May 2020 despite the nation struggling with falling foreign reserves due to low oil prices.
The weak foreign reserves has disrupted the nation’s economic outlook and weighed on the Nigerian Naira. The Naira has been devalued by 15 percent this year and was recently adjusted from N360 per US dollar exchange rate to N380/US$ for importers and investors to ease pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves.
Last week, at a summit organised by Seplat, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, said the three refineries were all idle despite the money being spent on them.
“In Nigeria today, we are importing practically every petroleum product that we consume in this country.
“We are working to make sure that we are able to fix our refineries,” Kyari stated.
All hopes are now on Dangote’s refinery.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the world’s richest black man, is presently constructing a 650,000 barrels per day refinery.
Osinbajo Says FG Plans to Create 5 Million Jobs
FG to Create 5m Jobs from Strategic Investments in Manufacturing, Agriculture
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the Federal Government plans to create at least 5 million jobs in the next few years.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the Virtual Presidential Policy Dialogue Session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Buhari-led administration is focused on job creation.
He, therefore, stated that this would be achieved with strategic investments in key sectors like the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
The Vice President said, “We are to create jobs and boost our national housing programme. We would be intentional in the support of manufacturers in using our local raw materials. We are seriously engaging the use of cement in building our roads, as it will be cheaper for us and more durable.
“We are targeting electrification of five million households with solar power, and we are supporting SMEs, especially in the pharmaceuticals to enhance the production of personal protective equipment.”
Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, the President of LCCI, who also spoke at the event, expressed concerns over the failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to adhere to the Executive Order which forbids Customs checkpoints around the ports and within given geographical delimitations in the country.
She also noted the slow pace of reforms in the oil and gas sector, one of the nation’s main sectors. According to her, the oil and gas sector was another cause for worry, saying up till now the PIB passed has not been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to her, “Closure of the land borders has enormous implications for cross border economic activities around the country. The indications are now that the closure is indefinite. While we share the concern of government on issues of security and smuggling, we believe that the indefinite closure of land borders is not the solution to the problem.
“We are excited about the signing of the AFCTA. But we need to get ourselves ready for the pressure of competition inherent in the continental economic integration agenda. A number of commitments were made about the creation of an environment that would enable the private sector to be competition ready. But not much has happened in this regard so far.
“We are aware of the efforts of government to fix our infrastructure, including roads and railways, but funding has remained a major challenge. We would like to see a new funding model with much bigger focus on private sector capital within a Public Private Partnership [PPP] framework for infrastructure development in the country.”
Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday
Lagosians Should Brace for Fuel Scarcity as NUPENG Embarks on Strike
Nigerians should brace for fuel scarcity as the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) directed all petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State starting from Monday, 10 August 2020.
In a statement released by NUPENG on Friday, the union said the directive followed the failure of various authorities in Lagos State to address three major issues that had impacted the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months.
The statement signed by the National President, Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, NUPENG and titled title ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020,’ noted that members of the union are frustrated and pained by the barrage of challenges faced while carrying out their activities in Lagos State.
NUPENG said, “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.
“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.”
NUPENG listed the major challenges faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State as extortion and harassment by various security agents and, area boys’ (miscreants).
“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect.”
The Union added that it is sad that the security agents who were expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users were the same people using their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum drivers in Lagos State.
Therefore, it said it had embarked on an indefinite strike to force the Lagos State Government to address the situation.
News1 month ago
British High Commission to Start Accepting Visa Applications From Nigerians Soon
Business1 month ago
Seplat Appoints Emeka Onwuka as CFO, Executive Director
Finance1 month ago
DSS Arrests EFCC, Acting Chairman, Magu
Forex1 month ago
Naira-USD Exchange Rate to Hit N430 – Report
Business4 weeks ago
Nneka Ede Purchases Portuguese Football Club, Lusitano Ginasio Clube
Business2 months ago
Dangote, MTN Lead Africa’s Most Admired Brands in 2020
Government1 month ago
FG Puts School Resumption Plan on Hold as COVID-19 Cases Hit 30,000
Business1 month ago
West African Consumer Sentiment Reflects Global Uncertainty