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Friday, March 09, 2007

ICT: Mrakpor calls for adequate regulation


Managing Director, HiRest Africa Limited, Mr. Igho Mrakpor, has called for adequate regulations as the nation enters into convergence of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

He made this call at this year’s annual IT Edge Convergence Forum held in Lagos, in a paper titled, ‘The place of the consumer in the ICT Converged world.”

He said that a major driver of regulation in the convergence should be based on the objective of maximising benefits and minimising the risks of consumers.

This, he said, implies that there is need for the creation of adequate regulatory instruments to protect the fundamental rights and responsibilities of consumers arising from the wide circulation of information in the sectors affected by convergence.

Mr. Mrakpor picked on privacy issues for instance, saying that the responsibility for content and the protection of minors, free speech versus libel, appropriate jurisdiction and consumer representation, are some of the issues that required to be addressed in the new environment.

According to him, public policy would also need to provide a supportive environment for convergence in order to ensure that the potential opportunities are grasped in a timely fashion and that the operators adequately protect the consumer from exploitation.

“A key priority of any regulatory framework should be to seek to meet the needs of users in terms of offering them more choice, improving levels of service and lower prices, whilst fully guaranteeing consumer rights and the general public interest,” he said.

Such approach, he said, is fully consistent with wider policy goals that recognises the important role of many of the sectors in bringing the Information Society into citizens' everyday lives.

He further defined convergence as opportunities provided by technology to enhance the quality of life of the consumer by increasing consumer choice, facilitating access to the benefits of the Information society and promoting cultural diversity.

“It is about services and about new ways of doing business and of interacting within society. It is also a response to, and a reflection of, far greater competitive pressure in the ICT industry,” he said.

He pointed out that the emergence of new services and the developments of existing services are expected to expand the overall ICT market. Hence these developments are therefore, positive for the Nigerian economic and social development and should be encouraged.


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