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Nominee seeks forex window for media


Breaking: Senate cancels emergency plenary sessionOne of the 14 ministerial nominees screened on Thursday by the Senate, Sunday Dare, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to grant media organisations a “flexible” foreign exchange window.

Dare, a journalist and nominee from Oyo State, told senators that the step remained the only way to keep the sector in business.

Answering questions from senators, Dare, who is the Executive Commissioner for Stakeholders Engagement in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), observed that the prevailing high exchange rate was taking a huge toll on media organisations.

This, he noted, would enable print and electronic media organisations beat the prohibitive costs of imported newsprints and the broadcast equipment.

Dare rejected the idea of government giving subsidy to existing private media organisations, saying such gesture could erode the independence of the media.

The nominee, who answered a wide range of questions thrown at him by the lawmakers, lamented the increase in the use of pre-registered SIM cards being used mainly by kidnappers and other criminal elements for their operations.

He said: “The same offence that was committed by MTN in 2015 that led to the imposition of fines by the Federal Government is still being committed by other telecom firms operating in the country.

“It’s very difficult to track users of pre-registered telephone numbers when the lines are switched off, adding however that security agencies have continued to make arrests.”

Dare said Nigeria has 172 million registered subscribers.

Stating that telecom will displace oil in terms of revenue generation in the years ahead, Dare said contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by telecom rose from 9.1 to 10.1 per cent in the last three years.

On the rising cases of cybercrime, the nominee said the country was still the process of building the required infrastructure to tackle the menace.

According to him, the Cyber Crime Act is domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser and that the NCC has been in collaboration with the security agencies in tracking offenders.

On dropped calls, Dare said the NCC has continued to engage the service providers, stressing that there has been improvement in the quality of service, which he said, has improved significantly.

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