APC fund-raising scheme: NCC to sanction VAS provider
Minister accuses party of ignorance of electricity sector
AS controversy continues to trail the shutting down of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Fundraising short code platform, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it would impose appropriate sanction on the Value Added Service (VAS) providers who provided the Short Codes platform to the APC for not seeking approval from the commission before rolling out the controversial promo in contravention of its guidelines on advert and promos
The commission insisted that its directive to telecom operators to stop political adverts was never influenced by the federal government, stressing that its actions were in line with the guidelines and regulations governing the industry.
The Director Public Affairs in the commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo who stated this while briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, pointed out that NCC was not against using a short code to raise funds for election but maintained that the guidelines were not followed.
He observed that the VAS companies which provided the Short Codes platform to APC for its presidential campaign fundraising did not give the seven days notification to the commission as required by law before rolling out the promos.
Ojobo said the commission was a responsible independent regulatory agency, adding that its actions were backed by Section 3 of the NCC’s guidelines on adverts and promos which stipulates: “The commission shall receive written notification from the Licensees for all advertisements for goods and services within a minimum of 7 days of the proposed or planned publication of an advertisement, in order to ensure such advertisements meet the minimum standards and requirements”.
He added: “NCC is not against using the short code to raise money, what we are saying is that the guidelines must be followed, these guidelines were created before the elections and will continue to be there. The first promo that came out on Saturday was from the PDP.
“On Monday, that of APC came out and the letter sent to operators affects all the political parties, no particular political party was targeted. We recognise that promos to some degree can affect quality of service, that is one of the reasons notifying the commission is necessary. The operators have to assure the commission that such promos and advertisement will not affect the quality of service.
“However, the commission did not get a notification from the Value Added provider that this is what it intends to do or from the networks, we saw it just like other Nigerians and for us as a regulatory body, we had to intervene. The guidelines were provided to ensure the integrity of the networks and also protect the interest of the teeming subscribers.”
Also, the Ministry of Power has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of lacking what it described as “ coherent policy” on the power sector.
The ministry also accused the party of exhibiting high-level ignorance or “mischief over existing policies and programmes in the Power Sector Reform process.”
Minister of State Power, Mohammed Wakil, made the accusations in a statement in Abuja.
According to Wakil, ‘’the opposition is confused over developments in the power sector.”
Wakil said comments by APC vice presidential candidate, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, that the party would permit states to generate electricity and deepen privatisation of the power sector were borne out of ignorance.
He said: “The APC chieftain and his party lacked basic understanding of the far-reaching reform Jonathan presidency has effected in the power sector with the Road-Map launched by Mr. President in 2010.
“How can a party promise Nigerians that states will be allowed to generate power when states have since been generating power under our Power Sector Reforms? Even Lagos has independent power plant. Many states like, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi and many others are already into generation. I think APC should go and read President Goodluck Jonathan’s Power Sector Road Map.
“The party should also go and read the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 (EPSR). The Jonathan Administration has privatised the generation and distribution sub-sectors. The transmission is under private sector management even as this has been opened up for private sector investment. The regulatory structure has been set up. We are just fine-tuning post- privatisation teething challenges.”
He went on: “So Pastor Osinbajo goofed with his comments on the power sector reform. It is either the opposition is ignorant or simply mischievous.
“We challenge the APC to produce its power sector policy. If it has none, the party should beware of copyright violations or plagiarism”
He stressed how the current power reform effort had been adjudged the best in Sub-Saharan Africa.
His words: “The PDP power sector programme is the best for the Nigerian nation. The opposition cannot deny these facts.”