Nigeria waits on NCC for draft bill
By Lukas Ajanaku, Lagos, Nigeria
In a reversal of roles, a draft bill to address the issue of multiple regulation, taxation and security of infrastructure in Nigeria’s telecoms sector is being awaited by the National Assembly from the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Acting Chairman of the House of Representatives Communication Committee, Honorable Usman Bawa, said this during a tour of the facilities of MTN Nigeria at Ojota in Lagos.
Bawa, who led the about a dozen members of the committee said the NCC, as the regulator of the sector, is expected to present to the Lower House bills seeking to merge the multifarious regulatory bodies in the country’s telecom sector together and also to address the issue of multiple taxation, which operators say is bleeding the business for them in the country.
The Committee did not say anything about what it was doing to help either the operators or the subscribers in addressing the challenges confronting them in the sector.
He said the NCC is expected to work out a bill that will seek to protect Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure as is the case with the nation’s power infrastructure. This declaration of the lawmaker comes after strident calls by operators for telecoms infrastructure in the country to be classified “as critical national infrastructure” to safeguard it from willful damage and outright theft.
He said the lawmakers were also waiting for the regulator to come out with a bill that will enthrone the era of convergence in regulation in the telecom sector.
On the issue of problems operators were confronting in securing land to erect base stations in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a development that has been having a telling effect on the quality of service in the city, he said the NCC is working with the relevant agencies to address the impasse.
Bawa praised MTN for the huge investment it has made on the provision of the infrastructure which, according to him, is improving the quality of its service nationwide. He urged other service providers in the country to emulate MTN and invest in facilities that redefine customer satisfaction.