By Nnamdi Ojiego
Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology, ICT sector have called on the Federal Government to change the current telecommunications policy.
They said the changes in the industry in the last ten years have necessitated an immediate and urgent review of the policy to take account of not only progress in the telecom industry but the global trend of considering telecom as part of an integrated communications based on the concept of convergence that encompasses telecom, broadcasting and IT.
Speaking on â€˜Policy Perspectives: Challenges for growth of the telecom sector in Nigeriaâ€™ during the recently held Stakeholders Engagement Meeting with Telecom CEOâ€™s in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer ofÂ Kemilinks International, Engr Shola Taylor revealed that many of the data as contained in the current Telecoms Policy, published in May 2000 were outdated and needed to be updated in the light of the tremendous progress made in the sector.
â€œMany of the short term (three years) and the medium term (five years) objectives have been achieved and new objectives need to be fixed in line with technological developments and progress already achieved in the ICT sector in Nigeria. Again, some of the projects have been achieved for example, SAT 3, Nigcomsat, among others.â€
Engr Taylor pointed out that the industry structure needed to conform with a new convergence framework to address the streamlining of the functions of NCC and NBC, while taking into account a new categorisation of ICT services; and the review of the Communications Act and that of the NBC. According to him, these are the critical issues for consideration in policy review.
Speaking on the objective of the new communications policy, the IT Expert said; â€œthe new policy will clearly defined strategies for monitoring its implementation and management, its impact and feedback, and for analyzing future prognosis; guide liberalization, attract more local and foreign investments, and lead to the rapid rollout of universal service to all Nigerians; lead to the empowerment of every Nigerian and the development of improved socio-economic standard for the nation.â€