Friday, January 01, 2010

Nigeria - A calls for a better equipped regulatory authorities

[daily champion] A Professor of Information Technology and Communication and retired General Manager, operations, Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) Joseph Ofulue has called for a better equipped Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to enable it effectively regulate the telecom industry.

Ofulue who was speaking recently in Lagos said, the telecoms industry needs a more proactive NCC just as he called for the decentralization of NITEL on regional operations management.

"NCC has not regulated the industry very well but only sold frequencies. To regulate effectively NCC must be proactive and not reactive. The Telecoms industry needs a well equipped NCC," he said

Prof Ofulue who also said the nation will lose control if urgent policy action is not taken in the direction of national integrated ICT infrastructure, said the political regions should be allowed to operate independently both voice, data and video information services.

"Nigeria government will lose control if no urgent policy action is taken in the direction of National Integrated ICT Infrastructure; first, we should decentralised Nitel on regional operations management with a long distance transmission company from the secondary exchanges including satellite and cable network. The Political regions should be allowed to operate independently voice, data, and video information services as ICT is a vital strategic tool of governance and can not be left in private foreign control.

He said the future of ICT in a country depends on protection of ownership and regulation, control and impact on the people governed for its socio-economic use.

He also called for a National Information and Communication Administration Agency in the presidency to be headed by experienced technical adviser to the President on ICT policy, laws and practices, while present institutions concentrate on policy implementation and control.

Ofulue lamented the present predicament of NITEL describing it as very ridiculous and disappointing, saying from "1986 we moved Nitel revenue base from N300 million in a year (1989) to N12 bn in 1996, we funded Nipost and Ministry of communications, amongst others then," he recalled.

Attributing the fate of NITEL to politics, corruption and mismanagement, he said the telco still has the chance for survival as it currently has the core infrastructure for Telecoms development and telecoms operators depend on this backbone.

On deregulation of the telecoms industry, he said it can be fully deregulated but under government supervision. "It is a natural resource like Frequency and Petroleum for government and hence it can not be fully privatized. We are using cost base tarrif system in telecommunication but there is social responsibility to the people by government."

Nigeria:Ofulue Calls for Better Equipped NCC

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