By Emmanuel Elebeke
FOR Nigeria and indeed other developing nations to bridge the existing gap of development between them and the developed nations and prepare for global competitiveness, there is urgent need to entrenchÂ first-rate body of laws and world class regulatory mechanism.
This according to the Registrar of Computer Professionals Council of Nigeria, Mr.SikiruÂ ShehuÂ has become imperative if Nigeria and other developing countries must develop all sectors of their economy as being witnessed in the Nigeria telecom sector.
Delivering a speech at the annual general meeting and conference of the Nigeria Computer Society, Lagos chapter in Lagos, Shehu said from the global competitiveness index, Nigeria and indeed other developing countries were comparatively low due to the absence effective regulatory framework in the system.
He said countries like Switzerland, United States, Syngapore, Sweden and Denmark and Mozambique are today theÂ most competitive in the world because of their adoption of functional and effective regulatory mechanism that had seen to the fundamental improvement and growth in their economies, unlike countries like:Â Mali, Chard, Zimbabwe and Burundi with the least competitive economies.
Corroborating reports from different findings on the correlation between GDP growth and IT investment, he said there is positive relationship between growth in IT investment and growth in GDP and productivity, saying that countries with the highest investment in IT have the highest rate of GDP growth.
Shehu who spoke on the topic â€œEffective regulatory frameworks: Imperatives for Global Competitivenessâ€ saidÂ countries with well established and functional institutions are ranked higher on the global competitiveness index (GCI)Â than countries where such conditions hardly exist.Â To him, positive relationship exist between well established functional institutions and national competitiveness.
The functional nature of such regulatory framework is underlined by the biblical accounts of manâ€™s origin.
The CPN boss who traced the historyÂ of regulation to the origin of man in the garden of EdenÂ said that the establishment of bodies such as CPN, and many others by the federal government suggest an acknowledgement by the federal government of Nigeria of the need for the regulation of any profession.
He further stated that the enforcement of the various regulatory institutions in the countryÂ hadÂ been hampered by some constraints, Chief among which is weak regulatory culture driven by inadequate regulatory mechanisms and deplored the prevalence of â€œanything goesâ€ mentality variously exemplified in various national endeavour.
He cited the recent caseÂ in one of theÂ teaching hospitals in the countryÂ where a number of children died in the course of surgery after adulterate drug was administered on them and blamed it on inadequate regulatory system in the country.
The CPN registrarÂ who did not spare the financial sector just as he said the poor regulatory system in the sector had brought in the attitude of arbitrariness and Laiz-affaire approaches into the sector.
He however, commended the Nigeria Communication Commission for being the only sector whoseÂ performance he said hadÂ reinforces benefits of adequate regulatory mechanism in the economy, following its landmark achievements recorded within the sector among which are: theÂ 72.6 million subscribers as at the end of 2009, 50 percent penetration rate; 16 billion dollars worth of investment in projects related top mobile services over the last ten years and 3 million job created both directly and indirectly created.
These advances, according to him,Â are largely due to the regulatory framework put in place by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), which has ensured a level playing ground for participants in the sector, protection of consumer interest and creation of enabling environment for ancillary benefits.
To him, the contributions made by the presence of an effective regulatory framework in the Nigerian telecommunications sector are evidenced by the comparison of the growth in private investment prior to 2003 when the Act was established and afterwards.
Beyond the traditional perception of regulation asÂ necessary tool for maintenance of order, Shehu believe that an effective regulatory frameworkÂ has aÂ significant impact on national competitiveness and socio-economic growth of a nation.
According to him, regulation play a major role and makes much impact on investment decisions, adding that investors and intellectual property owners would always be willing to spend their moneyÂ in an environments where the protection of their rights will adequately be guaranteed.
â€œFor a country like Nigeria where considerable level of financial and technical assistance are required to develop local IT capacity, establishing institution driven regulatory mechanisms becomes essential. The dynamic and continuously evolving nature of IT therefore demands that appropriate measures are put in place to regulate IT practice and professionals,â€ he posited.
Apart from establishing a regulatory mechanism, argued that the process will not be complete without a corresponding Will on the [part of government to to enforce the laws.
The occasion was also used to present awards of excellence to some outstanding members of the association. They include: Don. Etiebet, Dr. Isaac Odeyemi, Professor Adenile Osofisan and Governor Godswill Akpabio.Speaking on behalf of other award recipient, Etiebet stressed the importance of regulation in an economy and called for periodic review of existing laws.
While pledging their willingness to support the IT industry, he also challenged the Lagos chapter ofÂ Nigeria Computer Society to come up innovative ideas, which he promised to sponsor with N1 million every year.