Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2.3GHz : NCC, FMIC should work together – Okereke

A Lagos-based Information and Communications Technology (ICT) analyst, Ms Mary Okereke, has advocated a more cordial relationship between the telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the
Federal Ministry of Information and Communications (FMIC).

She made this call in Lagos, at the weekend, saying the forging of more cordial relationship between the two government entities would no doubt assist immensely in growing the economy and telecommunications industry in particular.

A statement made available to ITRealms Online, on the on-going 2.3 Gega Hertz stalemate, Ms Okereke pointed out that like any other human establishment, NCC may not be infallible.

She also urged NCC to be more transparent in its activities so as to forestall any atom of blunder in its processes of engagement with the sector.

Additionally, she said that as long as it is not questionable that NCC is independent, although some have argued that as an agency under the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications (FMoIC), NCC should report to the FMoIC.

Some, she said, have argued “Doesn’t commonsense presuppose that the NCC should report to the FMoIC,” but Okereke pointed out that in real terms, as stipulated in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), the NCC is really not responsible to anyone.

“It would however appear that the NCA allows the NCC to be self-reporting or accounting, but have a cordial working relationship with the HMIC,” she declared.
Okereke noted that there is need to redress a situation whereby NCC is seen as acting less transparently.

Perhaps the wisdom of NCA in doing so was to ensure the independence of the NCC.

While I subscribe to the need for an independent NCC as a National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for telecommunications as recommended by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), I also see the need for necessary checks and balances to ensure accountability in order to address the deficiencies of being self-accounting,” she suggested.

The independence of NCC, she said, has no doubt brought significant benefits to the country including professional disposition, expeditious decision making, innovation as opposed to older ideas to name a few.

She equally outlined the down side of this ‘independence’ wondering that where the entity errs, what corrective mechanism is in place?

Therefore, she said, it is essential to note that probably that was the points, the
Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili wanted to bring to the forefront in seeking a halt of the 2.3 Gega Hertz recently.

“In my opinion, the HMIC’s actions given her integrity and score card at NAFDAC is playing out itself. In her sojourn in the FMoIC, she has now drawn our attention to a gap in our national polity –that the NCC is not after all accountable to anyone,” she declared.

Ms Okereke reiterated that ongoing conflict between the Akunyili and Ndukwe’s NCC would leave Nigeria with something positive for the telecommunication industry and indeed Nigeria.

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