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Pay-TV Tariffs Hike: Stay action, don’t dare our country, Senate President warns Multichoice Nigeria

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday warned Multichoice Nigeria not to dare Nigeria by going ahead to hike the tariffs of it’s products while the matter is yet being investigated.

Inaugurating a seven-member adhoc Committee of the Senate headed by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate President warned that no foreign operators in the country should take Nigeria for granted.

The committee was set up by the Senate on Wednesday, 30th April, 2022 against the backdrop of an announcement of tariff hike by the Multichoice pay TV service provider, DStv.

“No operator should take us for granted. We mean business. We want you to be here. Nigeria always provide 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 Senate President warned.

Lawan explained the rationale behind the setting up of the committee: “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’m 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 actually 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 doesn’t want to respect and obey our laws should leave. Afterall, 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.

“I pray that they do the right thing so that they will not run into any trouble of fighting the injustice. What happened in the past should provide us lessons and issues that we should look at.

“Infact if Nigerian consumers were extraordinarily cheated, they should be paid back. They do that in other countries. So I hope that all operators will cooperate with this committee. That when they are invited to appear before the committee they will appear.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said “the investigation into the activities of the Pay-TV service providers is long overdue as their activities, over time has reaped off Nigerians of their hard earned income.

“It is mind burgling that barely two years of the price hike by the Multichoice which was followed by a big uproar by Nigerians, comes another unexpected increment without proper consultation with critical stakeholders.

“This incessant hike in tariff without recourse to constituted authourities is a thing of great concern that calls for questioning.

“This investigation is an opportunity to right the wrongs and bring this service providers to operate within the confines of the law as obtainable outside the shores of the country.”

 

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LAGOS EMERGES OVERALL BEST STATE IN DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT

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Lagos State Logo
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… Bags Seven Awards

Lagos State Government outshined other States of the Federation to emerge as the best overall State in Digital Infrastructure for Development in Nigeria, winning seven awards at the 6th edition of the annual Tech Innovation Awards formerly called Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecom Awards (NTITA).

The Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, who received the award on behalf of the State Government, said the conferment of the awards on Lagos is a reflection of its buoyant tech ecosystem and the push to provide a world-class environment for Information and Communication Technology [ICT].

He added that the award confirmed the State’s commitment to leveraging ICT for service delivery to the citizens and developing the ICT ecosystem with world-class infrastructure.

Fahm reiterated the commitment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to provide a statewide fibre-optics infrastructure to support the huge demand for data centres, businesses and public use, maintaining that Lagos is determined to champion the sector’s growth and sustainability by supporting tech companies, ICT start-ups and other industry members.

Speaking further, the Commissioner expressed his pleasure in the recognition of Lagos State’s efforts, stressing that the State will continue to foster ICT growth, local partnerships and collaborations to create opportunities for innovation and wealth by eradicating the digital divide and enhancing operational resilience.

“The continuous recognition of Lagos over the years through multiple awards is a reflection of its vision to provide sustainable infrastructure, eliminate the digital divide and democratise digital learning to promote digital literacy. This administration would continue to leverage technology to transform the State’s economy while easing impediments for businesses to flourish”, Fahm said.

He pointed out that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, since he assumed office in 2019, has prioritised ICT development and improved service delivery in all MDAs in the State, just as he is transforming Lagos into a Smart City.

The State won its seven awards through Lagos Internal Revenue Services (LIRS) with three awards; Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) with two awards; the Ministry of Science and Technology with one award, while the Honourable Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm bagged an award for Special Contribution to the ICT sector.

The Tech Innovation Awards (TIA), widely known as Nigeria’s ICT Oscars Awards, is an annual event designed to celebrate organisations, individuals, governments and the private sector that have distinguished themselves over the years and are at the forefront of digitalisation with innovative products and services in the ICT sector.

 

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SANWO-OLU AT CHATHAM HOUSE, CHARGES WORLD LEADERS ON SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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…Says LASG has consistently increased budgetary allocation, efficiency in healthcare

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to world leaders, global think-tank and public office holders to work towards building a sustainable healthcare system for all and facilitate access for the poor and under-served.

Speaking on “Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria: Optimizing Institutional Opportunities and Partnerships for Success” at the weekend at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, Governor Sanwo-Olu charged global think-tank to optimise institutional opportunities and partnerships for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“To achieve UHC, developing countries must first focus on offering their residents a basic minimum set of healthcare services, provided free at the point of care using subsidy, controlled premiums or at a pre-set tariff system, within government-regulated facilities either public or affiliated private,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State as the most populous city in Africa, a financial hub and Africa’s 5th Largest Economy on the continent, has strategically strengthened the health system in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.

He said Lagos State has been using policies to strengthen its health systems, pushing toward the achievement of UHC, which the State considers a journey and not a destination.

“In Lagos State, we believe that policy is the most effective tool that governments can deploy in the pursuit of stronger health systems and eventually approaching UHC.

The right policies will lead to the development of robust health financing systems that will serve the needs of our huge and increasing population,” he said.

Speaking on some of the policies of his administration to strengthen the health system, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government has consistently increased its budgetary allocation and efficiency to healthcare over the years, noting that the desire of his government is to eventually match the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent.

He said his administration, through its capital infrastructure blueprint agenda, is upgrading and renovating its existing primary and secondary health facilities in the short term and it has commenced building new designed fit-for-purpose primary, secondary and specialist health facilities for the future.

“We recognise that the Government cannot cover the funding gap in the health system without support from the private sector. In a bid to encourage public-private partnerships, we set up various institutions such as the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OPPPs) and IBILE Holdings, a private company owned by Lagos State for the purpose of engaging with the private sector. These institutions are mandated to facilitate and fast-track PPP opportunities in Lagos State.

“We understand the need for proper governance within the administrative structure of the health system and so we inaugurated boards for all the agencies within the Lagos State Ministry of Health. This has gone a long way to strengthen the capacity of the hierarchical sub-agencies, keeping them focused on their mandates.

“We believe in health insurance as a tool that we can leverage to quickly cover ground in our quest for UHC and so we have thrown the full weight of our support behind the newly established National Health Insurance Act, and mandated our Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to domesticate and enrol residents of Lagos into the Lagos State Social Health Insurance Scheme.

“We are leveraging partnerships with Global organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Fund amongst others to explore innovative ways to strengthen our primary health system. In fact, I believe that such organisations’ decisions to directly fund a sub-national like Lagos State is a testament to the clarity of our vision and our drive to achieve results,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that his administration has concluded some innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to modernise the equipment in the State’s secondary health centres and set up specialised health facilities.

“We have commenced two pilot projects: The Lagos State Oncology Centre and the Omotunde Ajoke Cole Smart Hospital. The success of these projects will mark a new dawn in our health system, where the best of the public and private sectors come together to provide world-class affordable healthcare.

“We are working hard to improve the quality of human resources we have in our health centres. We are also using a system of meritocracy to appoint Medical Directors (MDs) in health centres and ensure continuous medical and administrative education.

“We understand the critical role played by logistics within our health system and we are making sure that people, essential medicines, and consumables are easily transported within our health system,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said while Lagos State Government is working on innovative mechanisms to pay for healthcare, it also needs to ensure that it is building a healthcare delivery system that can provide decent healthcare services to the people of the State.

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Achieving SDG Will End Poverty, Hunger, And Insecurity In Nigeria – Buhari 

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria is accelerating efforts to achieve the SDG by 2030 to guarantee an end to poverty and hunger, protect the ecosystem and ensure Nigerians live in peace and prosperity by 2030.

Buhari made the declaration on Friday when he officially unveiled the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework (INIFF) report, a high-level event in collaboration with the UNDP and EU, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UNGA.

He expressed satisfaction that the process leading to the NIFF which started in 2020 finally crystalized into the launch, underpinning the importance placed by the present administration towards achieving the goals.

The President explained that the various developmental plans and programmes for the country have all been aligned with the SDG and are poised to advance the nation’s economy in spite of the challenges that have confronted the country.

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