New Telegraph

Stakeholders kick against NITDA Bill passage

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…say it’ll destabilise telcom sector
… overlaps with Communications Act 2003

Stakeholders in Telecom industry have frown against the Draft Bill concerning the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, saying it would destabilize the sector if passed by the National Assembly. According to them, the review has shown the different areas of overlap between the Draft Bill and the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

“This will create structural and regulatory conflicts in Nigeria. Yet the most worrisome impact of the Draft Bill is its immense potentials to jeopardize the vibrant communications sector by creating uncertainty and drawing a grey map of applicability. “This will not only jolt investors and distort the market structure, but can lead to multiple regulatory oversight and lack of coordination in managing the Sector. Therefore, the impact is far reaching and fundamental to market sustenance and deepening the gains of the sector that has twice driven Nigeria out of recession in the last six years.”

They said there is a need to reconsider the Draft Bill as the matters it seek to legislate on are already being regulated by the NCC as the sole and exclusive regulator of communications services in Nigeria and this approach has midwifed the country from liberalization to the exponential growth that makes the sector attract commendations and emulations from other countries.

“More so, most of the issues raised by the Draft Bill are within the purview of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an international agency that manages communications globally and based on that Nigeria has seamlessly aligned with other countries in managing innovations, services, spectrum utilisation and convergence processes. This Draft Bill will impact on this harmonious coordination with international bodies and other jurisdictions across the globe. “We recommend that NITDA continues on the path of its original mandate to develop information technology, drive skills building and standardise the deployment of IT tools by the Nigerian government.

“This mandate will then be complemented by sectoral regulators and ensure a broad and well-articulated national approach to the deployment of communications services and IT tools,” a source from the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Companies (ALTON), told New Telegraph. The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the invitation for a public hearing, jointly signed by the Clerks of the Senate Committee on ICT and Cyber Security; and House Committee on ICT, Mr Ayo Ogon and Abosi Lolo, respectively, and published in a daily on December 22, 2022, fixed the hearing on December 23, 2022, a day after both Chambers of the National Assembly had proceeded on recess, indicated desperation by the Committee to pass the controversial bill to favour NITDA and cause a disruption of the entire ICT sector in Nigeria.

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