Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has advised the Federal Government to ditch the idea of moving Information and Communication Technology (ICT) agencies: National Information and Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone and Nigeria Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) from the Federal Ministry of Communications to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
NCS responded to reported moves of the present administration to relocate these key agencies.
If implemented, the Ministry of Communications will be left with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST).
The Society thus demonstrated that the concept of relocating the three agencies to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will set the nation more than fifteen (15) years behind its development plans
Professor ‘Sola Aderounmu, president, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in public statement published on the Society’s website, described ICT as central to the creation of the emerging global knowledge-based economy “and it is a pivotal instrument in accelerating growth, promoting sustainable development and eradicating poverty in developing countries such as ours”.
He reiterated that ICT provides economic opportunities to both urban and rural populations, hence the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body of all Information Technology Professionals, Stakeholders, and Interest groups in Nigeria with over 20,000 memberships, in 2011 worked with the Federal Government in establishing the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, disagrees with the Federal Government on the recent moves.
“The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) also agreed with the Federal Government in 2011 to retain the three agencies – NIGCOMSAT, NITDA, and Galaxy backbone under the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology for sustained development and actualization of ICT objectives towards diversifying Nigerian economy as communicated by the SGF upon creation of the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology in 2011
“The missions of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone and Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. (NIGCOMSAT), are related and the focus is more on Information and Communication technology.
“Presently, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) formulates policies and develops Information Technology initiatives, while, NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone are providers of Information and Communication Technology infrastructure and services to Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies; NigComSat is a satellite operator and not a space agency;
“As of today, there are 17 agencies/parastatals under the Ministry of Science and Technology, while, there are 5 agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications,” the NCS president said.
Prof. Aderounmu added that all over the world, Ministries of Information and Communication Technology were created to foster the development of an information society and stimulate the growth of a strong, competitive, vibrant, export-oriented ICT sector.
“Examples of such countries are Egypt, Singapore, India, United State of America, United Kingdom just to mention few. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is a converged sector for Communications and Information Technology, thus the need to have a converged supervision of the agencies operating in this sector”, he said, noting “It would be counterproductive to separate operators (NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone Ltd) from their regulators (NCC and NITDA) in the supervisory/regulatory framework. This is also contrary to best practices the world over”.
The statement also emphasized the need to streamline government expenditure and fight against corruption cannot be realized if the regulator of the communications sector is placed under the supervision of a different Ministry;
The concept of relocating the three agencies to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, he lamented, will set the nation more than fifteen (15) years behind our development plans.
He added that mandates of both Ministries as described in their websites, http://www.scienceandtech.gov.ng/ for the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and http://commtech.gov.ng/ for the Ministry of Communications respectively differs.