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NBC suspends shutdown of 52 broadcast stations after IPI Nigeria’s intervention

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Following the intervention of the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the revocation of the operating licenses of 52 broadcast stations owing various sums in licensing fees.

The NBC has now given the affected stations up to 6PM on Tuesday, August 23, to pay up their debts.

In revoking the licenses on Friday, the commission had ordered the stations off air beginning this Saturday, citing Section 10(a) of the 3rd Schedule of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The provision says, “10. A licence may be revoked by the Commission in the following cases, that is (a) where the prescribed fee has not been paid on the due date…”

After the announcement, IPI Nigeria engaged the Ministry of Information and Culture, the NBC and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to explore amicable resolution of the dispute.

“We are glad to report that the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilela, has graciously agreed to grant an extension on compassionate ground,” IPI Nigeria President, Musikilu Mojeed, said on Saturday.

“Even though this is a temporary relief, we are hopeful that all parties will engage in the next few days with a view to arriving at a lasting resolution of the matter. We thank the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mallam Illela for listening to us and allowing a window for dialogue.

“During our engagement with the Commission, the NBC explained that the commission had in the past granted several concessions to broadcast organisations, including writing off substantial parts of their debts and engaging them consistently to fulfil their financial obligations to the regulator.

“We implore the affected broadcasting organisations to take advantage of this window of opportunity by reaching out to the NBC.

“Nobody benefits when broadcasting stations are shut down. Members of the public have come to rely on these stations to know what their governments are doing to keep them safe in this challenging security environment. Other governments’ policies are also disseminated to the public through these channels.

“In view of the nation’s economic downturn, we further appeal to the affected broadcast stations and the NBC to agree a workable payment arrangement of the outstanding dues.”

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Tinubu unveils Single Trade Window Policy to check import-export bottlenecks

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The Federal Government has launched an ambitious policy to check infractions in the nation’s import and export value chain, aiming to bridge over $4 billion in losses owing to bureaucratic bottlenecks.

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the Committee at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Tuesday, incorporating egg-heads drawn from representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance, representatives of the Marine and Blue Economy, those of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The Committee also comprised representatives of the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, the Standards Organization of Nigeria, the Nigerian Maritime Administration on Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC.

The policy is encapsulated under the National Single Window Steering Committee which will explore real-time digital trade compliance.

The National Single Window project will facilitate a paperless trade volume of $ 2.7 billion to the country.

According to the Nigerian President, the country cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually to bureaucracy, delays and corruption.

He noted that it was time for Nigeria to join the ranks of countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia that have experienced significant improvement in trade efficiency after implementing a single window system.

Tinubu said he was optimistic that through the newly launched project, Nigeria will expedite cargo movement and optimize inter-African trade.

He added that the initiative is a testament to his administration’s commitment to regional integration and collaboration.

His words, “Today, marks the beginning of a new era of unyielding commitment to prosperity, efficiency and endless possibilities. The National Single Window is not just a project. This initiative is not just a policy but a bold statement of our commitment to progress, prosperity, and the well-being of every Nigerian.

“It is a symbol of our determination to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come.

“The benefit of this initiative is immense paperless trade alone, which is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around 2.7 billion US dollars.

“Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvements in trade efficiency. After implementing a single window system. It is time for Nigeria to join the ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, digitized trade process. We cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.

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Kaduna Assembly probes El-Rufai’s loans, directs committee to summon ex-gov

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The Kaduna State House of Assembly on Tuesday commenced probing controversial foreign and domestic loans and grants secured by the immediate past administration of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

The Assembly set up a committee to conduct the probe at Tuesday’s plenary presided by the Speaker, Yusuf Liman Dahiru.

The Committee was tasked to embark “on fact-finding of financial dealings, loans and grants and other projects implementation from 2015-2023”.

The probe panel was mandated to invite El-Rufai and other notable personalities, including the former Speaker of the 8th and 9th Assembly.

Others to be invited are former commissioners of Finance and ex-commissioners of Budget and Planning.

Governor of Kaduna State Uba Sani had lamented the huge debt burden left by the past administration which he claimed was incapacitating his government.

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FG commences disbursement for presidential conditional grant scheme

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The Federal Government has initiated the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant scheme.

The scheme, which targets nanobusinesses—enterprises with one or two workers and an annual turnover of less than N3 million aims to provide each beneficiary with N50,000.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment declared: “We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. A number of beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy.”

The ministry further explained: “In collaboration with telecommunications providers, we have successfully resolved the initial delays in sending out shortcodes for NIN verification and application continuation.

“By Friday, 19th April 2024, a significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants. It is essential to understand that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants on this initial date.”

The Presidential Conditional Grant Programme was launched last year to alleviate economic hardship following the removal of fuel subsidies in the country.

It is expected to reach one million small businesses across the 774 local government areas and the six council areas in the Federal Capital Territory.

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