Senator Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Senate, on Tuesday, warned MultiChoice Nigeria not to dare Nigeria by going ahead to hike the tariffs of its products, while the matter was being investigated by the senate.
Lawan, who issued this warning while inaugurating a seven-member Adhoc Committee of the Senate, headed by Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, warned that no foreign operators in the country should take Nigeria for granted.
He said: “No operator should take us for granted. We mean business. We want you to be here. Nigeria always provides the climate for you to do your businesses but don’t abuse the laws of our country.
“Our consumers here are people who are innocent and we are prepared to protect them.
“Meanwhile, stay action. No increase. No increase. And that is to say don’t dare our country. No increase in tariffs.”
The committee was set up by the Senate on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, against the backdrop of an announcement of tariff hike by the Multichoice pay TV service provider, DStv.
The Senate President, who explained the rationale behind the setting up of the committee, said: “The reason for setting up this adhoc committee is well known and this is in consistent with what we are supposed to do as members of parliament, as distinguished senators.
“When the legitimate interests of our people are threatened, we are supposed to ensure that we protect them.
“It has been the practice of many companies, especially foreign companies operating in Nigeria to treat the Nigerian consumers of their products in a different way and manner that is not consistent with global best practices.
“I am not going to preempt the outcome of this investigation but one thing is clear, that the Senate is prepared to go all the way to unearth the exact situation that is happening with respect to how much Nigerian consumers of the DStv or Pay-TV tariffs are charged and how does that compare to other jurisdictions in other countries.
“DStv, one of the operators, has shown the tendency to increase the tariffs without due consultation with stakeholders and we feel this is not the right way to go about it and therefore we even need to find out whether or not what we are paying already is not out of the roof and different from what other countries are charged.
“So your task as a committee is to look at the issue very dispassionately with a very clear mind and focus on what we need to know.
“The Consumers Protection Council and other agencies of government and even NGOs and CSOs are supposed to attend this kind of investigation. We need to know what roles such government institutions, established for the purposes of protecting Nigerian consumers, perform. What are their problems if they are not doing well?
“The report, at the end of the day, is supposed to be a report that will guide the Senate to take resolutions that will ensure that Nigerian consumers of the products, Pay-TV, are fully protected but at the same time that will not emasculate the businesses. We want to see a win-win situation for both consumers and operators.
“But let me be very clear at this point, we are going to take on any operators who decide to charge Nigerians tariffs that are not charged anywhere outside this country.
“I also want to add here that any operators, especially foreign, who do not want to respect and obey our laws, should leave. After all, it is only in this country that most of these operators behave the way they do, whether they are telecoms or DStv or whatever.
“In other climes, they do better. They respect the consumers. They respect the laws of the countries where they operate. It is only in Nigeria where they don’t give us any respect and I think we will take them on.”
FCTA fear-stricken over influx of beggars from states with security challenges
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Social Development Secretariat has lamented the alarming influx of beggars into the territory in recent times. The Secretariat which blamed the ugly trend on the unending insecurity in some states of the North, described the situation as overwhelming.
The Acting Director, Social Welfare Department of the Secretariat, Sani Amar disclosed this on Tuesday when participants of the senior executive course 44, 2022 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Jos visited the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari.
Amar also frowned at the United Nation’s human rights act which prohibits the detention of arrested persons beyond three days, noting that such provisions have also served as catalysts for the swelling number of beggars in the city.
The Director explained that the secretariat has been struggling to keep the streets of Abuja free of beggars and destitute lately, but noticed that its efforts have not yielded the desired result.
He expressed concerns that before now, its officials usually arrest between 20-25 beggars during their routine sanitation exercises. The situation he added, has changed drastically as officials of the Secretariat now arrest over 100 beggars and destitute in one single operation.
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While calling for the need for the government and the council of states to act fast by pushing for legislation that will criminalize begging, he added that if punitive actions are meted at those who hide under the cover of begging to defraud innocent Nigerians, the menace will stop.
He, therefore, called on neighbouring states of the FCT, particularly those at its northern borders to put in place policies that will discourage the brewing of street begging as the FCT ends up being at the receiving end of the consequences of the menace.
“What we notice, the recent influx of beggars in the city is so overwhelming. In a day before, when we go round, we apprehend about 20 people, but now in one spot, we arrest 100 plus.
“And our major problem is the United Nations human rights act that says you can’t detain human beings beyond three days and then couple with the fact that their feeding is cost, so these people have made it just like a business.
“The insurgency, banditry, in the North generally is too much. The beggars now are not people with disability. Majority of them are able-bodied, with their women and children. I think there is need for government to see if the council of states can do something about this influx so that states responsible can provide succour for the beggars”
“So what we are trying we are trying to do now is to advise the authorities if they can explore any law/act that will at least make it deterrent to anybody because so many of them were apprehended with a huge amount of money.
“Some with 120,000 naira, 200,000 naira and they are yet begging”. He stated.
Advans La Fayette MFB unveils education loans to support school owners, parents
Advans La Fayette MFB Limited, a leading microfinance bank supporting small businesses, and a member of Advans Group, Tuesday launched education loan products to assist school owners and parents respectively to run their schools and pay school fees with ease.
The new products according to a press release signed by the Marketing and Communication Manager of the firm, Kayode Abraham are Advans Boost, comprising of Advans School Boost and Advans Eduloan. Advans School Boost is designed to provide working and investment capital for school owners while AdvansEduloan is to assist parents to pay their children’s school fees with ease.
The third product is the Advans Kiddies, which is a high-yield savings account to help parents save towards the future of their children while still earning interest.
In his welcome remarks at the launch and Stakeholders’ Engagement event held at the Shoregate Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos; the Managing Director, Advans La Fayette MFB Limited, GaëtanDebuchy, said, “We recognized that lack of finance is one of the biggest banes of education.
He related that the Bank was emboldened by the fact that investment in quality education yields the best dividend, hence, created these products to offer solutions to the challenge, noting that as a leading microfinance bank, the financial institution focused on providing premium financial services to our customers.”
Speaking at the event, the Project Manager, Advans La Fayette MFB, Fanny Belhomme, said, “Advans School Boost allows school owners to access loans up to 75 million Naira to cover school expenses. The loan has a very competitive interest rate, a flexible repayment plan and no hidden costs.
“Parents can access up to N500,000 with the AdvansEduloan, to pay their children’s school fees. The loan is easy to access, with a low-interest rate and flexible repayment plans”, she added.
The Marketing and Communication Manager of the firm, Abraham, said, “The process of accessing the education loans is neither rigorous nor daunting.
He directed the applicant to simply visit the website: www.advansnigeria.com to complete the application form and receive the funds immediately, if eligible.”
Advans Nigeria is a member of Advans Group; a leading international microfinance group currently serving over 1.1 million clients in 10 countries including Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Pakistan, Nigeria, Tunisia and Myanmar. For more than 15 years, the bank has offered a complete range of financial services that has helped build over 4 million small businesses.