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Robust FinTech critical for deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria – NCC boss, Maida

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Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has emphasized the pivotal role of the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry in promoting financial inclusion for underserved and unserved Nigerian citizens.

Maida delivered this message during his keynote address at the 2023 annual Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) FinTech Forum, which centered on the theme, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Fintech Potential: Challenges and Opportunities.” The event took place recently in Lagos.

Represented by Mr. Henry Ojiokpota, the Controller of NCC Lagos Zonal Office, Maida highlighted the growing significance of digital financial services in the nation and the transformative impact of FinTech on Nigeria’s financial landscape. He noted that FinTech is reshaping the conventional financial system by leveraging technology to enhance services such as mobile banking, lending, investments, and cryptocurrency, thereby promoting innovation, job creation, and investment opportunities that drive economic growth.

Maida pointed out that FinTech applications like robo-advisors, payment apps, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending apps, investment apps, and crypto apps create business opportunities for individuals. He stressed that the youth, constituting 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, can utilize these FinTech applications for socioeconomic advancement, thereby contributing to the nation’s economy.

Highlighting the substantial mobile network subscriptions in Nigeria, which reached 220.7 million in August 2023, Maida underlined the potential of the Nigerian FinTech ecosystem to offer diverse financial services to telecom subscribers. He assured that the NCC would continue to expand and enhance telecommunications infrastructure to facilitate robust FinTech services, address consumer concerns, and tackle regulatory challenges in the sector. This, he noted, would leverage the high mobile phone penetration in Nigeria to improve financial services in rural and underserved areas, fostering economic growth.

Maida mentioned the NCC’s commitment to achieving a 70 percent broadband penetration target by 2025, as outlined in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 and the digital economy growth blueprint. He highlighted the positive impact of these policies and strategies on advancing the FinTech industry and enhancing financial inclusion and the digital economy in Nigeria.

The NCC boss pledged ongoing support for the FinTech industry in unlocking its vast potential and addressing sector challenges. This support would encompass the provision of secure infrastructure for efficient delivery of digital financial services, maintenance of minimum Quality of Service (QOS) standards to ensure uninterrupted connectivity, and collaboration with relevant authorities to enforce regulations and policies that promote FinTech development. Additionally, he mentioned the NCC’s partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enhance payment systems and financial inclusion in alignment with the Nigeria Payments System Vision 2025.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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