Gist: ICT Draft gets Nod to Move Forward  (Read 953 times)

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ICT Draft gets Nod to Move Forward
by flukky01 « on: March 14, 2012, 03:38:51 PM »

LAST Friday in Lagos when stakeholders in the Nigerian ICT sector gathered to discuss the draft national ICT policy, leading voices contended that except issues like local content, open source software, full engagement of industry players, youths, women among others were included, the policy, as drafted may not be of much use in the bid to transform into a digital and knowledge based economy.

The objective of the public forum, convened and presided over by the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson was to gather additional input into the draft policy and make it more embracing.

Though some speakers lauded the draft policy as a step in the right direction, it also was criticised by stakeholders, especially from the private sector who noted that the draft was not inclusive enough for holistic transformation of the nation’s IT sector, said to be among the fastest growing sector in the world.

Despite the robust discussion and debates on the draft policy document, players present at the forum  advised that more time be allowed to enable stakeholders make more inputs before sending the final document to the executive.

It would be recalled hat the draft ICT policy document was earlier released by the Communication Technology ministry for comments and suggestions from the stakeholders and the general public.

A committee had been set up by the ministry to harmonize all the existing policies, reflect new realities where necessary in order to provide a working document and an effective take-off point for the sector.

Also, the ministry had a few weeks ago met with industry associations like ATCON, ALTON, ISPON, NIG, NCS, ITAN, CPN and NATCOMS who had sent in their inputs on the Draft ICT Policy to discuss the comments and suggestions sent to the ministry.

Policy as statement of intent

Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson during the forum had expressed commitment to a robust ICT policy that will contribute to national development. Describing the policy document as a statement of intent, Mrs. Johnson noted that the ministry was resolute on how to develop the ICT industry, stating that the contributions of stakeholders to the policy document will help strengthen the document for the benefit of all.

“Today, we are here to discuss on the harmonised draft ICT policy which will enhance the intended robustness of the policy,’’ the minister said, emphasising that though the ministry was in a hurry to get things done and develop the sector, adding that the goal is not to make mistakes in haste.

Harmonized policy will reposition IT sector

She explained that the harmonized draft policy would help reposition the nation’s information technology sector, accelerate the growth of the ICT industry, and create the enabling environment for the rapid expansion of ICT networks and services that are accessible to all at reasonable cost.

Converged regulator

She stressed that the converged nature of the industry through the media, broadcasting and telecoms, has made it possible for a mobile device to be used to make a call, watch films and broadcast. This she said has made it necessary for a converged regulator that will recognize this fact.

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