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FG lists conditions to reopen borders

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The Federal government on Monday gave a list of conditions that must be met for it to reopen its borders.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside members of the Inter-ministerial committee on the temporary partial closure of land borders, held a press briefing in Abuja to discuss the issues.

The nation’s borders have been closed for several weeks in a move the government said was to grow the local economy and reduce illegal importation.

The issue has generated controversy in the economy with many condemning the government for not providing palliatives to curb the expected rise in basic goods for families. Some also argue that the border closure violates Nigeria’s agreements within ECOWAS and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Other Nigerians have, however, commended the initiative saying it would help increase local production and use of made-in-Nigerian goods.

It was also reported how officials of the federal government said the closure has led to increased revenue for the Nigeria Customs Service and a reduction in the volume of petrol smuggled outside Nigeria. Mr Buhari has since extended the border closure to January next year.

However, some conditions were agreed upon by members of the Nigerian side of the tripartite committee set up to review the policy.

The conditions as stated by Mr Onyeama are as follows:

– Any import coming from outside an ECOWAS region and imported into an ECOWAS member state must maintain its original packaging. They must be escorted from the port directly to the designated entry point in the Nigerian border, presented to the Nigerian customs with their original packaging. Compromises will not be tolerated.

– Goods produced predominantly in ECOWAS member states must satisfy the ECOWAS rules of origin to avoid any possibility of downplay. Goods must be majorly produced in ECOWAS countries.

If the goods are coming from outside ECOWAS, the value addition must be over 30 per cent for it to be accepted within the framework of the Economic Trade Liberalisation Scheme that ECOWAS countries have to promote trade among them.

This is to avoid countries outside member states from exporting their goods into ECOWAS region repackaged, as though they are coming from an ECOWAS region.4

– All warehouses along the shared borders of Nigeria must be dismantled.

– Goods being transported must be put in proper recognized packaging. No longer will we have goods of all shapes and sizes going through the borders. To maintain the best practices of those goods, an accepted condition for packaging will be established.

– In regards to free movements of persons, all persons moving through Nigerian borders must present themselves through recognized entry points and must have recognized travel documents (country passport).

In two weeks Nigeria will be hosting a tripartite meeting (Niger, Benin, and Nigeria) to further review the policy.

Heads of ministries of foreign affairs, interior, finance, customs, immigration, NIA and other security segments will form the committees of each country represented.

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Gbajabiamila tasks NCC on SIM cards’ registration

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Wednesday tasked the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to ensure the registration of all SIM cards in the country.

The Speaker said unregistered SIM cards have high-security risks, which should be taken seriously by the commission.

Gbajabiamila who spoke during a courtesy call by the management of the commission in his office said the House was ready to support the commission through adequate funding for effectiveness and efficiency.

He also affirmed that communication was the bedrock of any society, urging Nigerians has to keep up with the pace.

The Speaker said Nigeria’s population keeps growing by the day, which he said would lead to an increase in the number of mobile phone users, calling on the commission to expand its infrastructure.

He said, “The population is growing, and that will also mean that the number of users will grow. That means you have to expand your infrastructure. The National Assembly will then come in because there will be a need for funding. We will work with you to make sure you get whatever is necessary to make your job easier.

“I noted that you’ve licensed seven fibre companies. But I don’t know if one per zone is enough. In the future, you may need to increase the number.

“When you said there were about nine million unregistered SIMs at some point in Nigeria, we all know the implications of that. It has a lot of security risks. In the present situation in Nigeria, one is too many, not to talk of millions. We need to look for a way to address that.

“I don’t know why we have to leave the issue of SIM registration to the telecoms companies alone. NCC should be thinking of licensing indigenous companies to do the registration because our security will be at risk.

“I want to assure you that you have the support of the House in doing your job”.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who led the delegation, also told the Speaker that the commission was working on a project to expand telecommunications infrastructure in the country.

For this purpose, he said, the commission granted licences to seven fibre companies for the six geopolitical zones, while Lagos has one on its own.

“We are soliciting for the support of the Speaker in translating this project to reality. To do this, we’ve already granted licences to seven companies in different parts of the country.

“We’ve made Lagos as a zone on its own. We’ve assigned infrastructure companies to each zone. At the end of the project, we would have added over 30,000 kilometres of fibres. We will have over 70,000 of fibres all over the country in the end.”

He said at the last check, the commission ensured that the number of unregistered SIM cards was reduced from nine million to about two million.

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NSE market indices rose by 0.54 per cent after Eid-el Malud celebration

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Nigerian equities market resumed trading for the week on Tuesday with a growth of 0.54 per cent after Monday public holiday declared by the federal government to mark 2019 Eid-el Malud celebration.

Specifically, the market capitalisation inched N69 billion or 0.54 per cent to close at N12.878 trillion against N12.809 trillion recorded on Friday.

Similarly, the All-Share Index improved by 141.90 points or 0.54 per cent to close at 26,456.39 compared with 26,314.49 achieved on Friday.

A breakdown of the price movement chart indicates that Cement Company of Northern Nigeria dominated the gainers’ table, gaining N1.60 to close at N19.10 per share.

Dangote Cement followed with a gain of N1.40 to close at N147.20, while Nigerian Breweries garnered 70k to close at N47.20 per share.

Access Bank added 35k to close at N9.55, while UACN gained 30k to close at N6.50 per share.

Conversely, Lafarge Africa recorded the highest price loss, shedding 55k to close at N14.15 per share.

FBN Holdings trailed with a loss of 20k to close at N5.60, while Ecobank Transnational lost 10k to close at N6.90 per share.

Ikeja Hotel was down by 9k to close at N0.88, while FCMB Group declined by 6k to close at N1.80 per share.

However, the volume of shares traded lower as investors staked 378.35 million shares valued at N7.15 billion in 4,798 deals.

This was against 432.47 million shares worth N5.58 billion transacted in 4,002 deals on Friday.

Zenith Bank emerged the toast of investors, exchanging 86.55 million shares valued at N1.52 billion.

It was followed by Access Bank accounting for 73.03 million shares worth N682.92 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 37.13 million shares valued at N1.06 billion.

The Nigerian Breweries accounted for 36.02 million shares worth N1.69 billion, while Fidelity Bank traded 17.71 million shares worth N33.15 million.

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Akwa Ibom: DPR seals 13 illegal petrol stations

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Eket Field Office, in Akwa Ibom has sealed 13 filling stations for acts of illegality and non-renewal of licenses in the state.

The DPR Operations Controller in the state, Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye, disclosed this on Wednesday in Uyo during a routine surveillance on petrol stations.

Kingsley-Sundaye said the filling stations were sealed in Uyo, Essien Udim, Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Etim, Ika Local Government Areas of the state.

He explained that out of the 13 stations sealed, seven were sealed for non-approval to build or operate the stations while six did not renew their licenses.

“Seven of them do not have approval to build filling stations.

“The team of DPR on routine surveillance went out to some areas in Akwa Ibom to ensure compliance in terms of standard, safety engineering standard and operating standard,” he said.

The operations controller said the department had given prior warning to defaulting stations but they were recalcitrant and refused to comply with guidelines and standard of operations.

“There are some people who are adamant and they feel the system is weak or the government is weak to make them to obey the law. We will continue to do what is right,” Mr Kingsley-Sundaye said.

He said the department collaborated with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to arrest defaulters of oil and gas in the state in October.

He noted that after the arrest, a good number of the defaulters came back to do the right thing while two petroleum marketers, who were arrested, refused to do the right thing.

Kingsley-Sundaye added that those petroleum marketers who built filling stations without approved licenses would be sanctioned and prosecuted in the court of law.

“The department will approach court of law to prosecute the defaulters in the state.

“If your license expires, the law states, you don’t have the authority to continue doing such business.

“When you continue to operate illegally, it is a criminal matter but not a civil matter and the law enforcement agency will assist us to do what is right.

“It is cheaper for you to obey the law than to break it,” the operation controller said.

He advised some of the petroleum marketers to approach DPR if they wanted to build filling stations or site oil and gas facilities in the state.

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