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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Draft ICT policy: JACITAD says ‘Attack the message, not the messenger’


CommTech Minister, Mrs. Johnson
Barely a week after the deadline for submission of comments for the draft national policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ended, the Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD) has cautioned critics of the draft to focus on the policy and not individuals.

JACITAD, a media based non-government organization made this call in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online and endorsed by the duo of its president, Prince Osuagwu and Secretary General Mr Oluwaseun Ayantokun.

The group, though faulted the composition of the ad-hoc committee that tend to harmonise the policies within the ICT sector, they warned that the draft has received flaks from different stakeholders, insisting that critics should concentrate on the message and not the messenger.

JACITAD, the noted is a media based NGO, which has continued to serve as the umbrella body for all ICT media professionals in Nigeria.

The draft ICT policy, according to JACITAD pointed out that even though the draft revealed several gaps and inconsistencies which reflected wrongly selected ad-hoc committee and the narrow scope of terms of reference.

“… It does not remove from the fact that the minister is passionate to see a strong ICT sector driven by a reliable policy,” JACITAD said.

Stressing that the group observed scores of inconsistencies from this document, but it would not be much of any use debating on them, because the draft started on a faulty composition of the ad-hoc committee members.

“However, that does not mean that the Minister does not mean well for the sector. In fact we see a minister that is desirous to have an ICT sector driven by strong and reliable ICT policy,” they stated.

For JACITAD, that the minister’s ad-hoc committee comprised only her assistants, advisers and a few others selected from agencies and parastatals under her ministry, already gave an impression of a project bound not to b e succeed.

Additionally, the group said based on the fact that the committee was given just only one term of reference negates its purpose, hence the committee has scope of work that is narrow.

“Agreed that majority of them are useful materials for such a job, it is also obvious that to do a better job of harmonising all ICT policies in the country, the members must cut across stakeholders of the Nigerian ICT industry” he said.

The group further counseled that the minister should as matter of urgency quash the recommendations of this narrow based committee and go back to the drawing board, reconstitute the committee to accommodate a broad based stakeholder representation, maintaining that it is the only way a broad view of the relevant policies capable of sustaining the gains already achieved in the industry could be accomplish.

Remmy Nweke

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