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Varsities To Reopen January, Ngige Assures 

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, says the Academic Activities in Nigeria Universities will resume January 2021.
He says the negotiations between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal government had reached 98 percent, adding that it remains only two percent to be completed
He spoke Monday in Alor, Idemili South local government area of Anambra State, during the launch of Ngige free medical outreach at the Community’s Health Center.
Ngige said, “We have met about 98 percent of the request of ASUU. Some 5 to 2 percent is what you can call promissory notes.
“So, I am very hopeful that by midnight today, there are some works we are supposed to get on to do. They also have some work they are supposed to do on their own side with their people.
“Tuesday, we will meet in the afternoon and we will compare notes. We will put everything on the table and compare. I believe that we might have come to the end of the strike when we meet tomorrow.
“Well, it is a journey of a thousand miles which you will have to take one step first. Tomorrow, all things being equal, we will agree now to agree because we were disagreeing before.
“We disagree to agree and agree to disagree formerly. But tomorrow, I hope we will agree to agree. Once we do that, schools will re – open in January,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Ngige said the free medical outreach that was launched in Alor Monday, was equally extended to neighbouring communities like Abatete, Oraukwu, Ideani and Nnobi among others
He said those with different ailments like hepatitis, eye problems among others should go and be treated free of charge, adding that about 15 medical Doctors in different fields would handle the cases at the Health Center.

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Reps Ask FG To Implement Pay-per-view Model For Satellite TV

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The house of representatives has asked the federal government to implement the pay-per-view model for satellite TV subscribers, to encourage “healthy competition” in the broadcast industry.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution on Wednesday, following the adoption of a report on the increment of tariffs by broadcast digital satellite service providers.

This was after Unyime Idem, chairman of the ad hoc committee, moved a motion that the report be considered.

“That the house do consider the report of the ad hoc committee on non-implementation of pay–as–you–go and sudden increment of tariffs plan by broadcast digital satellite service providers,” he said.

In March 2020, the house set up the ad hoc committee to probe complaints about high tariffs by broadcast digital satellite service providers.

At the investigative hearing in June 2020, the panel specifically tackled the Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), a South Africa-based company owned by MultiChoice, for high tariffs and restricting Nigerian customers to prepaid plans.

But during plenary session on Wednesday, the lower legislative chamber said the “visible absence of competitors in the industry was tacit approval of monopoly of the industry by the present operators”.

In their resolution, the lawmakers called for “expedited action on implementing the content of the National Broadcasting Code and the Nigeria information Policy of 2014 that would trigger healthy competition in the industry”.

“The entertainment industry has a wider spectrum with limitless opportunities for the teeming youths. The visible absence of competitors in the industry was tacit approval of monopoly of the industry by the present operators,” the house said.

“Timely application of these government regulatory intervention measures already articulated will revolutionise the
industry and meet the people’s yearnings on pay-as-you-go, pay-per-view and price reduction.

“Our extant laws that moderate operations in the industry is to be fine-tuned to meet the 21st century regulatory laws of the industry that is dynamic as the entertainment industry.

“The commission that has the power to license and regulate the activities of service providers must, as well, have the power to moderate in the protection of consumers. There is little or nothing a regulator can do if he is handicapped by laws that are not properly tailored to the needs of the society.”

The lawmakers added that “uncontrollable” market forces are responsible for the hike in the tariff.

“The recent increment of VAT by 2.5% by the Financial Amendment Act of 13th January, 2020, the fluctuating
foreign exchange rate in the country that affects the cost of content, broadcast equipment, experienced hire and technical infrastructure increase, increase in bouquets for a wider choice,
inflation on the cost of production and need to maintain workforce not throwing many young men and women who are gainfully employed by pay-tv into the labour market were some
necessary indices for price hike,” they added.

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FG To Regulate, Monetise Posting Of Police Officers As Escorts, Guards

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The federal executive council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the formation of the Special Police Services to regulate and monetise posting of officers as escorts and guards.

Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, said the new unit will formalise the deployment of police officers as escorts to VIPs and as guards to big corporations.

Speaking after the FEC meeting in Abuja, he said the approval was in the interest of transparency and accountability.

He said: “The minister of police affairs also had an important scheme which was approved at federal executive council meeting.

“It is the deployment of what they call Special Police Services. And this is about a new system that will formalise what has existed with us all the time.

“You know police provide escort and guard for big corporations, banks, and so on. Now, in the interest of transparency and accountability, the government is formalising this relationship. And there will be an introduction of tariffs and billing schemes. This will be using PPP (public private partnership) arrangement.

“The police projected the use of consultant that will help them to manage this. Part of the revenue will go to federal government. Part of it will go to the police. Part of it will go into police allowances. And part will go to consultants as their own fees.

“This is something that has been going on for many years. And it has happened virtually in all countries of the world. In our own case, it has remained largely, people will say, undocumented or non-formalised. Government is concerned about leakages in revenue and incomes which should be blocked.”

Shehu also said contracts worth N754,048,161 were approved for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for capital projects.

He said: “These are mainly for the supply of communications at the command and control centre. This is to enable EFCC comply with modern day investigative techniques, improve its operational efficiency, and support the administration of criminal justice system in the country.

“So, these are basically defensive and offensive cyber-security systems.”

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