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NIN defaulters risk 14-year jail term, says minister

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…no plans to lift ban on SIM registration

THE Federal Government has warned that those yet to obtain their National Identification Numbers risk seven or 14 years imprisonment as stipulated by the constitution.

Government also said there was no plan to lift the ban on new Subscriber Identification Module registrations any time soon for security reasons.

Already, the FG said as of March 31, 2021, only 51 million Nigerians had been authenticated for NIN.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, who disclosed these at the sixth edition of the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said government had planned to ensure that in the next two years, the country will have a database.

He added that when it came to addressing the issue of security, the economy takes back stage. He also said it is an offence to pay taxes, have voters’ card or even pay pension without the NIN.

The minister said, “President Muhammadu Buhari gave priority to security because it is our number one primary responsibility as a government.

“The ban on SIM may affect our economy in some ways but when addressing the issue of security, the issue of economy is second because you have to protect your citizens before you talk of economy.

“The decision was taken in order to ensure that we contribute our quota in making our country safe and secure for all. We know it’s painful but it’s necessary.

“In September 2019, we did audit exercises and we allowed a process of auditing and the process of new SIM to go concurrently. We discovered that some of the agents doing the registration compromised the system badly to the extent that while we were doing audit exercise in 2019, they allowed people to come. “One person will be invited, he would be given a little amount of money, they will use his biometric to register a hundred cards online and get a passport to attach to it and they will complete the bio-data and the SIM will be activated.

“But as you know, criminals, whether bandits or terrorists, always exploit this SIM and we don’t want to allow our platform for perpetration of criminality in our country.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions taken as a minister. It is a very painful decision but we had to take it.”

Pantami also put the number of SIM card subscribers linked to NIN at over 150 million, adding, however, that enrollment of NIN was 51 million as at March 31, 2021.

“So what we are doing now is matching all the SIMs with NIN; this has become necessary for security purposes,” he said.

He explained that while 150 million completed registration, the remainder had problems of improper registration.

Pantami further stated that while obtaining a SIM card might be optional, NIN is mandatory, citing Section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007.

He said it is a criminal offense in Nigeria to carry out business activities without first acquiring the NIN number.

He said, “The NIMC Act, clause 27 states that you need the NIN number for opening bank accounts, for insurance, land transactions, voters registration, drivers licenses.

“So, it is an offense to transact any business activity without first having your NIN.”

He said the number of enrolment centres had doubled; while number of computers had been tripled, adding that NIN will determine the number of Nigerians that had registered because of the unique number.

Pantami further noted that the cost of data provided by telecommunications companies had been halved since last year from about N1,200 per gigabyte to leas than N500 at present.

He, however, blamed some state governors for the high cost of data production by inflating the charges telecommunication firms pay state governments for right of way in installing their cables.

“Some states charge as high as N60,000 per linear metre, whereas it should not ordinarily be more than N145,” he said.

The minister said he had engaged the governors through the Nigeria Governors Forum and pleaded with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in the matter.

According to him, if the anomaly is corrected fully, GSM and telecom firms will charge cheaper for data.

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$1bn investment recorded in auto industry – Minister

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The Federal Government has recorded more than one billion dollars’ worth of investments in the automotive industry. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said this in Abuja on Tuesday when he featured at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series organsied by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

“Over one billion dollars in investment has been recorded in the automotive sector and we are ready to move on to the next phase for the automotive industry,” the minister said.

He said the review of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) was almost completed, adding that the plan was going through validation process.

Adebayo restated the ministry’s commitment toward enabling business environment to attract and retain investments.

According to him, the ministry and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) are committed to attracting and protecting investments that genuinely benefit Nigeria and its citizens.

He said that the revised Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) would boost investment.

“Nigeria has successfully revised its model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to include a specific provision for investment facilitation, which institutionalizes the principle of assisting investors in completing their investments.

“We are proud to offer Nigeria’s first investment policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

“This strategic statement, which will outline our priorities, aims, commitments, and expectations, is a turning point for the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment and Nigeria as an investment destination,” he said.

Adebayo, who said that Nigeria had Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments, said the ministry was developing more.

“We have IPPAs with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments. The president ratified both accords on Sept. 16, 2022 and we are developing more IPPAs,” he said.

Adebayo said the ministry also distributed 5,571 acceptance certificates worth N7.7 trillion to 2,665,800 firms.

“The acceptance certificates allow businesses claim tax reduction when computing Company Income Tax.

“We also issued more than 130 Production Day Certificates, a crucial Pioneer Status Incentive step,’’ the minister said.

To further accelerate industrialisation, Adebayo said that the ministry was expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the country.

According to him, the special economic zones will increase infrastructure availability and provide fiscal incentives for value addition.

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Pay customers with N100, N50, CBN orders commercial banks

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The Central Bank Of Nigeria has directed all commercial banks to pay customers over the counter in N100, N50, N20, N10, and N5 notes, regardless of the amount withdrawn.

Bankers Committee issued the directives to all commercial banks in the country on Monday, and announced the discontinuation of old notes payment of N1000, N500 and N200 across the counters.

It also urged people to use their alternative channels for transactions, while those insisting on new naira notes were advised to use Automated Teller Machine (ATMs).

The directives came on Monday, following a meeting of the bankers committee in Lagos.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement on Sunday extended the deadline for old naira notes from January 31 to February 10, 2023.

Emefiele also noted that he obtained permission from President Muhmammadu Buhari to effect the extension.

According to him, the extension, ‘a seven-day grace period’ was as a result of measures put in place to ease the scarcity.

The decision is coming after CBN had previously insisted that it would not extend the deadline.

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Famous 4×4 Grenadier coming to Nigeria, courtesy Coscharis Motors

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Coscharis Motors has announced its readiness to introduce the popular rugged off-road vehicle, Grenadier, to the Nigerian auto market.

This follows the naming of the auto company by INEOS Automotive as its official retail partner in Nigeria.

Nigeria is the sixth market in Sub-Sahara Africa to join the brand after South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana.

A statement on Monday by Abiona Babarinde, the auto firm’s General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, said, “The first Grenadier demonstrator vehicles are expected to arrive in Nigeria in early 2023 with customer deliveries expected to commence within the first quarter.

“All after-sales servicing will be conducted at a dedicated workshop also located in Lagos.”

Commenting on this partnership, the President/CEO of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, said, “We are proud that INEOS Automotive has appointed Coscharis Motors to represent its brand in Nigeria. “This milestone marks another step in the evolution of our company. With our history and experience of the Nigerian market, we know that the INEOS Grenadier is going to be a serious player in the off-road segment.

“We have no doubt that the Grenadier has what it takes to handle Africa’s tough terrain and that it is the perfect option to meet the specific demands of those who need a capable, refined, and reliable off-road vehicle in the region. We look forward to the first customer test drives and hearing public feedback, because this vehicle is definitely going to stir things up in Nigeria.”

The statement quoted Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive’s Head of Region South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, as saying, “We are carefully selecting our partners across the SSA region, to find people who know their local market and customers, and also understand our brand.

“Coscharis Motors shares our belief that the INEOS Grenadier is the perfect vehicle not only for Nigeria, but for the continent. Our shared passion for off-roading, along with their excellent reputation in the automotive industry, makes it the perfect partnership for Grenadier in Nigeria.”

Coscharis says the Grenadier has been developed to be refined on the road and extraordinarily capable off-road.

“The Grenadier is powered by a choice of two straight-six, 3.0-litre BMW engines. Both the BMW B57 diesel and B58 petrol powertrains have a proven track record, regularly appearing in top ten world’s best engine lists since 2016. They have been used in everything from sports cars to SUVs.

“The two power units bring BMW’s sophistication and refinement to the Grenadier, but they have been enhanced by INEOS Automotive’s engineering team. As well as providing powerful acceleration on tarmac, they also deliver peak torque at low revs – sustaining it through the rev range – for optimal off-road performance,” it states.

It also notes that the carefully calibrated characteristics help the driver to confidently manage the vehicle’s momentum and grip without stressing the engine, ensuring full control when tackling tricky terrain.

It adds, “The refined turbo petrol engine produces 286PS (210kW) and 450Nm (332 lb ft) of torque, while the twin-turbo diesel generates 249PS (183kW) and 550Nm (406 lb ft), for even greater pulling power. Start/stop is built-in, increasing range and preserving air quality when the vehicle is stationary.

“While it is every inch a rugged 4X4, it ticks all the right boxes on the road, too. The chassis combines a five-link suspension setup with Brembo brakes and Bridgestone tyres, meaning the Grenadier is composed, well- mannered and fun to drive no matter what the terrain.”

The firm also reveals that by the end of this year, INEOS Automotive plans to have a network of more than 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.

 

 

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