MOBILEBy BiztechAfrica - May 3, 2012, 10:06 a.m.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The deputy president of Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has flayed the recent ‘crude’ show of power by two agencies of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
He argued that it was unnecessary and promised that the National Assembly would do something about the relevant laws that set up the agencies.
NESREA had sealed the premises of MTN’s base transmission station (BTS) at EFAB Estate, Mbora District in Abuja. NCC unsealed the station, after which NESREA went back to seal the infrastructure again, also slamming a fine of N5 million on the telco for reopening its base station.
The senator who spoke at the weekend in Lagos at the Beacon of ICT Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, lamented that Nigeria, as a nation is not yet where it ought to be in the ICT development pyramid despite the huge progress recorded in the last one decade of liberalizing the telecoms sector.
“ We as a nation are no longer where we used to be in terms of ICT development; while we have made tremendous progress far beyond what was imaginable even ten years ago, the truth remains that we are nowhere near where we ought to be, given our abundant potential, especially in terms of human resources.”
“We just have to redouble our efforts at ICT development to be able to reap bountifully from its potential,” he said.
Ekweremadu said efforts must be all-encompassing to galvanize Nigeria’s ICT resources and create favourable environment for the industry to flourish, adding that challenges such “as multiple taxation and unlawful levies, environmental concerns, infrastructural deficits, anti-competition conducts, teledensity/urban-rural dichotomy in ICT penetration, cybercrime, and data protection/right to privacy concerns” must be collectively confronted headlong by all well meaning patriots.
The lawmaker also identified weak regulation as a major challenge confronting the industry. “There is also the major issue of weak regulation, including inter-agency regulatory overlap/multiple regulation, which has left Nigerians short-changed even as it brews confusion and bad blood among the regulatory agencies.”
“In the telecoms sub-sector, for instance, there has been inter-agency rivalry between the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Environmental Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NASREA) over the regulation of telecoms infrastructure.”
“Indeed such issues should not arise and should be checked. You can be rest assured that the National Assembly is taking note of this and other challenges and will continue to provide the necessary legislative framework to strengthen the Nigerian ICT industry,” the deputy Senate president assured.
Speaking on ICT, he said its role in the society is as overwhelming as it is all-encompassing, stressing that it has not only had extensive social impacts, oiling social relations, it has proved to be Nigeria’s hope of economic survival, providing jobs, direct foreign investments, among others. Importantly, he added, it has become a tool of governance, political communication, and advocacy for change and development.
“In fact, from the role of ICT in the Arab Spring or uprising outside the shores of Nigeria to the socio-economic and political impacts it has registered in Nigeria, ICT has shown that it practically rules the modern world and will do so for a very long time to come,” Ekweremadu said.
According to him, while ICT plays great roles in the security of lives and property, it has proven to be a very bad servant when it enters the wrong hands urging stakeholders and the government to ensure that ICT is used profitably in security terms.
“In particular, at a time like this (with Boko Haram’s multiple bombings), those doing business in the industry have a task to ensure we deploy ICT effectively and rapidly towards bursting the terror and crime syndicates menacing the nation,” he said.
He disclosed that members of the National Assembly are also making efforts to ensure that ICT knowledge and use permeates even the remotest corners of the country, arguing that besides attracting ICT projects like computer centres to his own constituency as a senator, the Ikeoha Foundation, which is his constituency outreach platform, is undertaking robust ICT training programmes for graduates from the South East of Nigeria.
“We have resolved to train some graduates in rudimentary and advanced ICT applications, depending on their current level of ICT knowledge and field of study. This is to boost their chances of employment and also enable them to set up their own ICT businesses,” he said.
MORE MOBILE NEWS
Mobile roaming: 8% of global operator billed service revenues by 2018A new report from Juniper Research has valued operator revenues generated from mobile roaming at nearly $90 billion by 2018, compared to $57 billion this year. Read More
MTN Ghana warns against SMS fraudMTN Ghana says it remains committed to working in partnership with all stakeholders to eliminate the problem of promotional scams originating from foreign and local numbers. Read More
Samsung Unveils GALAXY S5, designed for what matters mostSamsung Electronics announced the fifth generation of the GALAXY S series, the Galaxy S5, designed for what matters most to consumers. Read More
TNM launches new airtime credit facilityTelekom Networks Malawi (TNM) will next month launch an airtime credit facility product called “TNM Pasavute”. Read More
MTN SA expands LTE footprint to PEMTN has reaffirmed its technology leadership by extending the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to Port Elizabeth. Read More
MWC: Big Trust emerges as key issueAt Mobile World Congress, strategies for earning trust can be seen everywhere as the telecoms industry realises that to successfully monetize of subscribers’ big data they need to first earn far greater trust from them, says Ovum. Read More
Econet supports Tokwe-Mukosi flood aid driveEconet Wireless has joined the government, aid agencies and other concerned partners to send humanitarian aid to thousands of distressed people that have been affected by the flooding at Tokwe-Mukosi dam. Read More
Safaricom marathon 2014 registration openThe 15th Edition of the Safaricom marathon will take place this year on the 28th June 2014 at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Read More
Tigo pioneers mobile money transfer with currency conversionTigo has launched what it describes as a world first mobile money transfer service between Rwanda and Tanzania. Read More
FEATURED STORYMACRA demystifies spectrum management
Malawi's regulator explains the issues around spectrum allocation. Gregory Gondwe reports.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHYouthConnekt launches Mobile Apps for Human Development Challenge in Rwanda
Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and the UNDP, in close collaboration with Motorola Solutions, will power a Mobile App Challenge that will be implemented by YouthConnekt.