JACITAD welcomes National ICT Policy
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
A professional body, the Joint Action Committee on Information and Communications Technology and Development (JACITAD) has commended the Federal Government for the approval of the new National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy stressing that it will stimulate its national economic growth aspirations.
JACITAD, the umbrella body of ICT journalism in Nigeria, says that its membership cutting across all newspapers, magazine, online and key ICT media institutions will partner stakeholders across the industry ecosystem to actualize the vision of the new National ICT Policy.
“We are encouraged by the news of the recent approval-in-principle granted by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Federal Executive Council which we believe represents the administration's commitments to leverage ICTs for overall national growth and economic development,” Shina Badaru, president of the body said.
According to JACITAD, a key highlight of the new policy thrust is the pursuit of true convergence based on the proposed merger of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator for telecommunications and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the broadcasting industry regulator in line with convergence.
“JACITAD is very encouraged by the plan to merge the NCC and NBC as it reflects growing industry advocacy for Nigeria to pursue strategic policy thrust reflecting convergence of regulatory functions, roles and responsibilities to promote true convergence in the Nigerian ICT sector,” Badaru adds.
Under the plan, the infrastructure and frequency held by NBC will now be merged with NCC which is envisioned to become a Converged Regulator for the sector. NBC will subsequently be saddled with the responsibility of regulating broadcast content.
With the new National ICT Policy, Nigeria has defined a new roadmap for its aspiration to be a key player in a connected global economy and fast-paced globalisation while also shows that government has heeded industry advocacy that government promotes true convergence running the entire gamut of her policies and across regulatory institutions as well.
The Ministry of Communication Technology has said that the National ICT Policy was developed to complement the development goals of Nigeria's Vision 20:2020 which aims at seeing the country emerge one of the 20 leading players in global economy by year 2020.
With a vision to make Nigeria a knowledge-based and globally competitive society, the new National ICT Policy hopes to fully integrate ICTs into the socio-economic development and transformation of the country into a knowledge-based economy.
“Our commendation also goes to Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, for painstakingly pursuing the formulation of the new National ICT Policy within record time following her appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan on July 17, 2011,” the president adds.
She had on August 25, 2011 set up an Ad-hoc Committee to harmonise all existing Policies for the different sectors in ICT including Telecommunications, Information Technology, Broadcasting and Postal Services.
The Committee reviewed the National Telecommunication Policy 2000, Draft Communications Policy 2011, Nigerian Postal Service Act 2004, National Broadcasting Commission Act 1992 (as amended), National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007, National Outsourcing and Institutional Framework for Nigeria (Jan. 2007), National Policy for Information Technology, Report of Presidential Committee on Master Plan and Roadmap for the Implementation of Information and Communication Technology for National Development (Sept. 2010) and Nigerian Communications Act 2003, among other documents.
The new National Executive of JACITAD which was elected into office in February 2012 said that it is committed to promoting developmental journalism under which it will partner with diverse industry stakeholders to promote growth and development in the Nigerian ICT sector.
The National Executive Board of JACITAD includes President, Mr Shina Badaru; Vice President, Mr Remmy Nweke; Secretary-General, Miss Francisca Nnanna and Assistant Secretary-General, Mr Kunle Azeez. Others include Welfare Officer, Mrs. Florence Onuegbu; Financial Secretary, Mr Lucas Ajanaku; Chief Whip, Mr Emma Elebeke; Treasurer, Ms Bukola Afolabi and Assistant Treasurer, Miss Adline Atili