An ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives has commenced a plan for a possible merger of the telecommunications and broadcasting regulatory entities.
The committee, chaired by Victor Danzaria (APC, Gombe) on Wednesday, met with the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, on the plan.
Nigerian Communications Satellite, Galaxy Backbone, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and NCC are some of the agencies being considered for a merger.
Mr Danzaria said research, revenue generation and service delivery are the critical conditions in the consideration process for merging or scrapping agencies of government.
He said it is not about having many agencies with so many director-generals that do not deliver the required services to Nigerians but about productivity.
“The ad hoc Committee is critically looking at these agencies, their existence and looking at possible synergies and mergers of these agencies to give effective service to Nigerians.
“One area is research, second is revenue generation and thirdly is regulatory functions and service delivery and at the end of the day, this is what Nigerians want.
“It is not about when you go to any agency, you see this man seated there on a table and service are not being offered there,” he said.
The committee is also considering other MDAs for a merger.
Speaking on the possibility of a merger, Mr Danbatta said all the agencies are doing different functions though there are areas of shared responsibilities.
He explained that in some climes, telecommunications and broadcasting regulations are unified. He added that to achieve such a merger, the lawmakers must get experts to review existing laws and operational frameworks.
“NITDA regulates information technology, that is why they are called that name. Galaxy Backbone provides infrastructure that is promoting governance.
“In some countries, we have what is called converged regulators for the telecoms and related sector. In this country, we have two separate regulators, one for communication and the other for broadcasting. It must have been the wisdom of the government to separate them,” he said.
Mr Danbatta also spoke about the contribution of the NCC to the coffers of the federal government.
“We have records available to show that we have been contributing a lot to the coffers of government and a very good example is when we did that successful 5G auction.
“The proceeds from the auction go to the coffers of the government. We don’t normally take anything. It is gazetted that whatever we sell—spectrum, we do not keep the money, we normally transfer this money to the consolidated revenue fund of government ” he said.
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