SENATE Committee on Communication in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Ministry of Information and Communication, have concluded plans to host stakeholders forum at the nation’ Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja next month.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, gave this indication in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, last weekend.
He said that the proposed two-day telecom stakeholders’ forum has been scheduled to hold between March 26 and 27, this year, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
This, he said, became paramount to usher in a new wave of development in the nation’s telecommunications sector, also assured on the positive efforts of his committee in ensuring that the on-going review of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 is improved upon to uplift the socio-political situation of the citizenry.
Anyanwu said the forum is expected to attract who-is-who in the telecommunications industry including sub-sector individuals to brainstorm on the way forward for the nation.
Stressing that the standardized review of the Act would pave the way for both political and economic co-existence and development for the country.
“Since Nigeria is the largest growing telecommunications country in Africa, it makes it necessary for the country orchestrate the review of the Communications Act 2003, in order to comfortably lay claim to our behemoth position,” he declared.
According to him, the forum promises to buttress the promises to further encourage development in the country.
Responding to questions, Anyanwu noted that telecom sector has been one of the most active, and most talked about sector of the economy in the country for the past eight years.
“I guess, and I know remarkably well that by 1999 we had just 250,000 telephone lines working and today, I can assure you that we have over 60 million people using telephone in this country and so that growth is very remarkable within a stretch of eight years or less,” he said.
Pointing out that the sector has also a lot of challenges that could be surely corrected if the will and the commitment are there.
One of such challenges, he said, is the issue of power supply which the federal government is working seriously to address, “because power constitute almost 50 per cent of the running cost of all the business here in Nigeria, including telecom and secondly the issue of providers with their very high tariff and that of dropped calls and incomplete calls, that has bothered the committee a lot.”
He recalled that in 2007 there were a stakeholders meetings and public hearings where these issues were discussed, we have had series of meeting with all the providers both the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and fixed operators on this issue.
“And that Nigerians are getting worried about the level of service delivery and we need to get the valve of money in whatever we spend, so we decided to talk to them, and in 2007, you remember the 2007 December – January 2008, it was terrible so we had to come out with a blue print of 12.7 million dollars sent to subscribers by air time,” he submitted.
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