A giant stride has been made in the Nigerian ICT space with the recent decision by the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), and the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), to set up a joint committee to design a framework for collaboration to optimize development efforts for the telecommunications and ICT industry in the country.
An 8-man committee has been constituted to work and submit report towards the integration process and the way forward with respect to service delivery and non-duplication of services being rendered to the public by both agencies of government.
The joint committee was a major outcome of the interactions between the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, and the Acting Director General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olagunju, when the latter and his team paid a courtesy visit to the NCC headquarters in Abuja recently. Both agreed that a new era of inter-agency collaboration would bring about desirable results, in line with global best practices.
According to Professor Danbatta, the agreement to collaborate is consistent with the mandates of the two entities to ensure pervasive penetration of ICTs.
Danbatta said the initiative will prove to the world that sister agencies in our clime can work together in the interest of the nation, and charged the committee members to work assiduously to ensure that the objective of the collaboration is realized.
Over the years Convergence in the ICT sector has been by default as the Information Technology sub-sector, and the telecom sector, already work together in their operations, as such, there should be no form of rivalry in the ways that the two organizations operate these days because it is all about common vision and common goals which are tied together for the future of our nation.
According to Dr. Olatunji, “The Information Technology sub-sector, and the telecom sector, already work together now in their operations. If those of us at the helm of affairs that are driving the industry do not work together, we will not go far.”
The Joint committee, chaired by Dr. Agu Collins Agu, a director at NITDA, is expected to provide detailed areas of collaboration and terms of reference, which will be initialed by the two organizations in due course. The committee would design a framework for collaboration aimed at optimising development efforts for telecommunications and ICT in the country.
This collaboration hopefully will ensure we reach the destination of what we call a networked society, a society that is e-driven, a society that is ICT driven; a society that will be relying on the power and leveraging on ICT to conduct all kinds of businesses.
Like the EVC put it, “We must concentrate on those things that we know that with the right investments and involvement of our human capital resources, we would realize things that we can show the world about the giant strides that are being made in this country, especially in the area of ICT.”
There is no gainsaying that the partnership of the two government agencies drive to pursue a revenue spinning ICT industry in Nigeria is apt at this time, as it will help the current administration’s drive to use ICT to create employment and diversify the economy with the volatility and disruption of oil revenue. ICT is one of the few options government have to diversify the economy and to build capacity using ICT to improve productivity and service delivery for Nigeria to cope with the present economic reality.
We hope that the collaboration will see increased access to knowledge, content and information through ICT tools, creating jobs and wealth amongst the youths, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas, empowering Nigerian youths, expanding and deepening frontier of IT knowledge within Nigeria.
Both agencies should ensure that this collaboration leads towards effective and efficient service delivery to the public based on a pervasive penetration of ICT while taking into consideration the existing ICT infrastructures to coincide with the mandates of the two agencies.
They should ensure that we achieve measureable results. We must not allow the work of this committee to go the way of other government committees in which reports are either not implemented or are implemented haphazardly.