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House Rejects 2010 NCC Budget

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ABUJA, Nov 11, (THEWILL) - Again, the House of Representatives today rejected the 2010 budget of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) on the grounds that the N6.1 billion proposed for the registration of SIM cards had been it turned down earlier by lawmakers.

Recall that the House had in July 2010 passed the budget without the N6.1 billion and constituted a conference committee with the Senate. The conference committee however endorsed the Senate version, which approved the N6.1 billion for SIM registration.

But when the House reconvened today, Hon. Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) objected the move to approve the budget by raising a point of order drawing the attention of the House to the injustice it may be causing by approving the budget. The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to vote by Speaker Dimeji Bankole. In raising the point of order, Apiafi said that the House would be breaching the provisions of sections 12 and 13 of the EFCC Act if it insists on adopting the report, which included the N 6.1 billion for SIM registration.

Section 12 (1) says that any person or entity providing an electronic communication service or remote computing service either by e-mail or any other form shall be required to obtain from the customer or subscriber, full names, residential address, in the case of an individual, and corporate address, in the case of corporate bodies.

Section 13 (1) says that not withstanding the provision of the Nigeria Communications Commission Act 2003 or the provisions of any other law or enactment, any person or entity who in the normal course of business provides telecommunications or internet services or is the owner or person in the management of any premises being used as a telephone or internet café or by whatever name called. Speaking in support of Apiafi, Hon. Halims Agoda (PDP-Delta) advised that the adoption of the report be stepped down to allow for further technical input on the budget.

It was at this point that Speaker Bankole referred the budget to the committees on Anti-corruption, communications and Ethics and Privileges to work on the budget and submit report to the House within 10 days.

In another development, Bankole said that the House would consider 40 reports from committees of the House before the end of December while saying that it was also expecting 60 reports of which public hearings have been concluded.