Nigeria looks to unified ICT regulator

Nigeria’s National Draft Policy within the Information and Communications Technology sector of the communications ministry said on Monday that it would like to see a unified regulator for the ICT sector as a whole in the country.

Nigeria’s National Draft Policy would like to see a unified regulator for the ICT sector as a whole in the country (image: stock.xchng)

The move has left some wondering how the ministry would be able to cover and monitor all segments of the ICT sector.

Marketing manager at MTN Nigeria David Ognebayo told IT News Africa that he felt the move would limit the ability of the existing regulators to move forward with efforts to understand the sector on a minute level.

“What could happen is that too many loop holes would appear and enable operators to take advantage of low oversight,” he said.

The draft policy on the ministry’s website said it wants to “harmonize the disparate policies governing the ICT industry in Nigeria.”

The goal of the document is to make it as the guiding paper and platform “for the overall development of the ICT industry and will facilitate the creation of a digital, knowledge based economy.”

The draft document is proposing a government institutional structure whereby the ministry is responsible for communications and information technology while a converged ICT regulator would oversee telecommunications, broadcasting, postal and IT sectors.

According to the draft document, the converged ICT regulator would consist of departments including telecommunications, broadcasting, postal and IT each of which “shall be headed by an executive commissioner.”

This would mean the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the regulator of the telecommunications sector, the National Broadcasting Commission (NCC), regulating broadcasting, Nigerian Postal Service (Nipost) and National Information Technology Development Agency (Nitda) would become departments with executive commissioners in the proposed draft policy.

David Eto