MTN and Airtel topped the list of mobile network operators (MNOs) with the highest number of subscriber complaints over suspicious data depletion incidences, preliminary report of the forensic audit conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has shown
The forensic audit, which was conducted by the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department (CMED) of the Commission, probed the four MNOs and discovered that a total of 106 data depletion complaints had been lodged by aggrieved subscribers.
Inundated by a deluge of complaints over data depletion rate in the telecoms industry, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive,NCC, Prof Garba Danbatta, in line with its mandate of consumer protection, had promised to conduct forensic audit into the complaints the way the Commission did on short message service (SMS) in which a particular operator was found to have defrauded its customers to the tune of N100 million.
According to the report, out of the 106 complaints received by the CMDE, 46 came from MTN subscribers while Airtel had 34. Glo had 19 while Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, doing business as 9mobile, had the least complaints of seven.
A source in the Commission said 10 reasons were identified for the fast depletion of subscribers’data. Prominent among these were the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and attendant lockdown to stem community spread of the virus; periodic application update on the smartphones; and conversion of mobile data to WiFi to share with other people.
Dambatta, in a response to enquiries, confirmed the conclusion of the audit and promised that a comprehensive report would be made public soon.
“We have made good progress on the forensic audit on data depletion,” Danbatta said.
On way forward to address data depletion, the report gave a number of recommendations, which included intensifying awareness campaign to educate subscribers on the need to switch off data when not in use; sensitising subscribers by the Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the NCC that the first point of complaint when aggrieved by poor service quality is their service providers; and urging one of the major operators to carry out checks to determine the number of its customers affected by data depletion incident.
“NCC has instituted a forensic audit on the cost of data, just like we did with cost of Short Message Service (SMS) on a particular mobile operator, where we discovered that the operator unlawfully surcharged its subscribers to the tune of over N100 million and we have asked the particular operator to make refunds immediately and the operator has commenced refund to the affected subscribers. This could have gone unnoticed, if not for the quick intervention of NCC. We have plans to even extend the forensic audit on SMS to other telecoms operators.
UAE makes U-turn, reinstates ban on Nigerian flights
Less that 48 hours after announcing resumption of flights to Nigeria, Emirates, the UAE flag carrier, has again announced indefinite suspension of flights to Nigeria.
The UAE authorities had initially fixed Wednesday, June 23, 2021, for resumption of flights to Nigeria.
But in a statement on its website on Monday, the airline said, “In line with government directives, passenger flights to and from Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja) are suspended with effect from 21 June 2021 until further notice.”
The airline had on Saturday announced resumption of flights, which were suspended in March over diplomatic row on COVID-19 protocols.
The Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management had lifted the ban on Nigeria and also removed the rapid antigen test and said passengers from Nigeria would only be required to possess negative PCR test.
“We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travelers’ categories.
“We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June,” Emirates had announced.
But it made U-turn on Monday with a new travel update indicating that Lagos and Abuja flights would no longer resume on Wednesday as earlier announced.
Emirates said, “Customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel. Customers who have been to or connected through Nigeria in the last 14 days are not permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.
“We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call centre for rebooking. Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”
CAC boss denies N6.54bn fraud allegation
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has denied claims of alleged N6.542 billion fraud and other allegations by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The Registrar General/Chief Executive, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Garba Abubakar, has expressed the commission’s commitment to the anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, adding that it will not in any way be party to corrupt practices.
He said the CAC would continue to work hard to achieve the objectives for which it was established to the satisfaction of its customers and stakeholders.
Abubakar spoke against the backdrop of alleged abuse of power and financial impropriety among others leveled against the management by the CAC staff union under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation , Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).
He vowed that the commission would not be distracted by mischief makers bent on running down the organisation.
The commission in a statement said contrary to the claims by the union, the registrar-general had declared his assets before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in accordance with provisions of the laws of the land, pointing out that it was laughable that the claimants were raising doubt over the content of asset declaration they are not privy to. “It behooves on them to establish any case of wrong declaration,” it stated.
On the alleged inflation of consultancy fees for tax reconciliation, the commission in a statement issued over the weekend by the Director of Public Affairs, CAC, Duke Ukaga, said the tax consultant was engaged long before the appointment of Abubakar, adding that the former’s fees was based on the percentage of savings made to the commission as contained in his engagement letter.
The commission said the consultant was able to renegotiate the commission’s tax liability, saving about N600 million in the process.
The commission, among other things, denied accusations of abuse of power, financial impropriety and commercialisation of promotion examination in the commission.
According to it, “The 2019 examination was held on October 10, 2020, at JAMB CBT Centres in Abuja, Kano and Lagos. A total of 394 staff members sat for the 2019 promotion examination.
“The result of the examination was published the same day at the commission’s website upon receipt from JAMB.
“At the end of the final collation, a total of 258 candidates were successful and promotion letters were issued to the staff upon approval by the board of the commission. It is highly mischievous for anybody to claim that the process was commercialised.”
The management further clarified that the allegations are “figment of imagination of the AUPCTRE who could still not accept the reality of losing checkup dues of over N2 million monthly from the commission following the stoppage of checkup dues deduction in respect of senior staff.”
Nigeria’s economy recovering from COVID-19 impact – IMF
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that Nigeria’s economy is gradually recovering from the negative impact of COVID-19.
This is as it cautioned the federal government to keep reliance on CBN overdrafts for deficit financing within legal limits.
The Fund also urged the government continue to make efforts to strengthen budget planning and public finance management practices to allow for flexible financing
The IMF, in a statement at the end of its virtual meetings with the Nigerian authorities to discuss recent economic, financial developments and outlook, described the recent removal of the official exchange rate from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website as “encouraging”.
IMF mission, however, noted that both unemployment and inflation rates remain elevated.
The mission said following the sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, gross domestic product (GDP) turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2021 — supported by agriculture and services sectors.
“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socio-economic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels. Inflation slightly decelerated in May but remained elevated at 17.9 per cent, owing to high food price inflation,” the statement reads.
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