Law, Regulation Critical To Innovation In Telecoms Sector-NCC Boss

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Dambatta has emphasised that law and regulation are two critical pillars that influence the speed and impact of innovation in the telecoms sector.

He stated this at the virtual public presentation of the book on “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation”, co-authored by Quasim Odunmbaku, a telecoms regulatory professional at the NCC and Rotimi Akapo, a lawyer, who specialises in Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) practice, is written in 18 chapters and over 600 pages.

Danbatta, who was the Chairman and Lead Presenter at the event, noted that “As important as these two factors are, they typically lag behind technology – it, therefore, behoves on all legal and regulatory practitioners in the sector to keep abreast of developments so that knowledge gaps do not stifle innovation and/or deny consumers of the optimum value”

Represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management at NCC, Adeleke Adwolu, Danbatta acknowledged there is a noticeable paucity of well-researched books and reference materials on the legal and regulatory regime governing telecommunications and indeed the ICT sector in Nigeria.

“As an academician, I am pleased to support works of this nature – they deepen intellectual capacity, help to improve the regulatory framework and enhance stakeholder awareness about the complementary rights and responsibilities of the different players in the telecommunications ecosystem. The ICT sector is knowledge-driven and we must support any endeavour that seeks to democratise knowledge in the way that the authors of the book have done” Professor Danbatta.

He noted that the Commission has had sustained regional roundtables with the academia throughout the country to brainstorm on innovative solutions to pressing challenges in the ICT sector as well as ensuring a future-proof industry that meets consumers changing needs and drives the government’s digital economy objectives.

Danbatta also commended the authors for the comprehensive depth of the book saying that “I am pleased that one of the co-authors is a staff of the Commission – this is a laudable venture which speaks to the 8th Pillar of our Agenda (To ensure Regulatory Excellence and Operational Efficiency).

“I am delighted that the authors of “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation” have taken up the challenge and have produced a comprehensive reference material which touches on practically every aspect of the subject” The NCC Boss noted

He encouraged other staff of the Commission to take on similar ground-breaking challenges which project their subject-matter expertise in their respective fields.

The official public presentation of the book was done by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, who described the book as “a compendium that will greatly enrich the level knowledge needed to enhance telecoms growth.”

The Reviewer of the book, Dr Mohammed Suleh-Yusuf, after an insightful review of the book, said, “The book is highly useful to practitioners and lay readers alike. It serves as a window into what shapes the industry and ensures readers are familiar at surface, to the basic rules and norms that influence the industry.”

Meanwhile, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Operations, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Akinwale Goodluck reiterated, “As an industry practitioner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend it very strongly for everyone with an interest in the Industry. It also provides invaluable insight for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to learn from the Nigeria experience.”

The immediate past President, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, and incumbent ATCON President, Ike Nnamani, aligned with their views, saying the authors have challenged the industry by putting together an encyclopaedia behind the growth of the Telecommunications industry from the perspective of legal, regulatory, economic, social and technological impacts.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, while commenting said, “the book carefully dissects the policies, rules, regulations and industry best practices which makes the Nigerian telecommunications industry the success story that it is today, despite numerous challenges.”

“Increase in the flow of foreign direct investment – This book will give the potential foreign investors the opportunity to understand the laws that guide the industry and how the industry is regulated in terms of investment”.

Other stakeholders, who rated the book very high both in contents and relevance to industry practitioners include Chairman, Section of Business Law, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ayuli Jemide; Director, Legal & Regulatory Affairs/Company Secretary, Airtel Networks Limited, Shola Adeyemi; Principal Partner and Head, ICT Law & Regulation, Sceptre Law, Lagos, Otu Etuk; Prof. Abiola Sanni of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, among others.

The stakeholders were in accord that the book, which sets out with great clarity and in the greatest detail the history, current status and how to navigate the policies and regulation of the Nigerian telecommunications sector in the real world, is a must-read for regulators, investors, scholars and industry practitioners.

Source: Voice of Nigeria