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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Akunyili inaugurates new NCC board

Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, yesterday inaugurated the new board of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) amidst urgent appeal to the telecom regulator, to among others stop telecom operators from selling new SIM card without capturing necessary data of the buyers.

Swearing in the four new members of the board, Prof Akunyili said the second phase of the sim card registration exercise should commence with immediate effect.

The minister who said she observed the modalities of the registration as having flaws and the cost of the contracts on the high side, emphasized that the modalities must change while adding that the ministry and relevant stakeholders would brainstorm to determine who bears the burden of paying for the project, the government or the operators.

“Considering our huge population, we deserve to have one of the lowest tariffs in Africa despite our obvious infrastructural challenges, infrastructural sharing will definitely reduce operational cost and drive down tariffs. For example, there is no way we can be talking about new intercontinental fibers optics without a reduction in the cost of the broadband access,” she said.

Akunyili who acknowledged the progress so far made in the communications industry also reaffirmed the need for improvement in the sector for the benefit of the Nigerian populace.

According to her, “much progress has been made in the communications industry but we are still far from our destination, our teledensity has not yet achieved parity with the active segment of the population, swathes of our country side beyond the high ways have no telecoms signals, while cost of our internet services is still high”.

Akunyili however assured the board members of the ministry’s support to enable them discharge their mandate.

In their separate speeches, the chairman of the Board and the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Peter Igoh and Eugene Juwa, promised to ensure that their operations will be in tandem with the provision establishing the commission.

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