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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Senate to hold public hearing on drop calls

The Nigerian Senate has concluded plans to hold a one-day public hearing on the increasing rate of drop calls, tomorrow in Lagos, according to the Senate President, Dr. David Mark.

Speaking at a two-day session of Africa Technology Congress (AFRITECC-07) in Lagos, he said that the Senate was concerned over the increased rate of drop calls among all the telecom operators in the country and particularly on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) networks.

Senate President who was represented by a legislative consultant, Mr. Davidson Oputteh in his address to the occasion said that the public hearing would be at the old Senate chambers, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Onikan Lagos on October 4, this year.

He also said at the event organised by ITWorld International that every stakeholder in the nation’s telecommunications sector is encouraged to take active part in the forthcoming public hearing.

This, he said, would help in addressing the increasing drop calls and charting the way forward in ameliorating the situation.

While commending the organisers for putting up the event with the theme: Enabling the Information-based economy” the Senate President noted that the public hearing has become necessary because of turn of events.

He pointed out that these events – increased drop calls; were contrary to government’s intentions and people’s expectations as some undesirable consequences of privatisation are seen as emerging trends.

He outlined some of the trends to include persistent fraudulent activities, minimal involvement of indigenous contractors, poor Quality of Service (QoS) and high tariffs among others.

To this end, Senate President said that the National Assembly and indeed the Senate is keen in providing relevant legislative actions to change things for good.

The Senate, he said, would soon embark on a systemic overhaul of the present legal and regulatory framework of the industry to make policies and programmes implementation relevant to the people and align with government intentions.

“The overall objective will be to ensure better regulatory mechanism, international best practices, better legislations, expansion of telephony, technology transfer, development of indigenous technology, increased local content etc,” he declared.

Also speaking, the Head, Courier Regulatory Department of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and chairman of the session, Dr. Simon Emeje, commended the Senate for its interest in the development of the entire Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry.

He also used the occasion to remind the Senate president of the importance of having a well articulated regulatory framework for various sub-sectors that made up of the current ICT sector in the country, including the postal services.

He called for expedited action on the proposed Courier Regulatory Commission bill now with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and expressed hope that the Senate would not disappoint Nigerians on the outcome of the bill.

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