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NCC Updates Lawyers On Telecoms Regulations

…Woos Them To Specialise In Telecoms Laws

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By Cyber Era Reporter

 To sustain the contribution of telecommunications and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Nigeria’s economic growth, telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),  has commenced a national sensitization programme for lawyers to keep them up to speed on telecommunication regulations, even as the Commission underscored the need for more lawyers with specialisation in telecoms laws and regulations to sustain the industry growth in the country.

Director, Legal and Regulatory Services at the NCC, Yetunde Akinloye made the call during the ‘Meet the Regulator Forum’ organised by the Commission for lawyers and law school students at the Nigerian Law School (NLS), Abuja Campus, niorth central, Nigeria,  on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the commencement of the sensitisation programme designed for lawyers which will hold in all geopolitical zones to create more awareness about the legal environment of telecommunication regulations.

According to Akinloye, the Nigerian telecoms industry was principally governed by the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, which empowered the Commission, as an independent telecoms regulatory authority, to, among others, regulate stakeholders in the sector and implement government’s policy on communications.

Akinloye said the Commission had also been using the Act to protect and promote consumer interests and grant licences to operators, and she also stated that the Act empowered NCC to manage scarce resources such as spectrum and numbering plan, to investigate and resolve disputes in the industry, and to develop and enforce regulations and guidelines in the general interest of the consumers.

She averred that the exercise of the Commission’s powers as enshrined in the Act had helped the NCC to bring about digital transformation in the country with impressive contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and to trigger positive multipliers effects on all other sectors of the economy.

According to the NCC Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, “we have recognised the role of lawyers in telecoms regulations and laws. This is why we have put in place this forum to create a meeting point between NCC as a regulator and legal practitioners. We are here to sensitise you to NCC’s activities from legal perspective, knowing full well that you have a role to play in further development of the sector.”

“More legal practitioners are needed in the country with specialisation in telecoms-related laws in our quest to continue to boost our regulatory frameworks for the continued growth of the telecommunications sector,” she said.

In his presentation, Deputy Director, Legal & Regulatory Services at NCC, Jerry Ugwu also amplified Akinloye’s position. He stated that the sector needed more telecommunications lawyers with a broad perspective on the NCC Act 2003.

He said as the gate-keeper of legal training in Nigeria, Nigerian Law School services were essential for compliance and enforcement. “Being the institution that trains lawyers in the country, lawyers have a peculiar training that sharpens understanding of the essence of regulations and guidelines; and other regulatory instruments used in the telecom industry.”

He said the NCC had considered it imperative to sensitise new wigs and the institution on the activities of the Commission as a regulator in order to build a knowledge-based economy in the country, adding that effective regulation was a key success factor in any economic ecosystem.

“Regulatory activities run on relevant legal instruments that guide service delivery, creating and interpreting these instruments are where lawyers have key advantage and role to play,” Ugwu said.

Also speaking, Principal Manager, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Ibe Ngwoke stated that through effective regulations, driven by various legal instruments, telecom sector had, over the years, become a major contributor to the national economy.

Ngwoke noted that, in the last quarter of 2019, the digital economy fetched Nigeria 13.1 per cent,  about N2.6 trillion(US$7.09billion) of the country’s GDP, as against oil and gas, which contributed 11.32 percent in the same period.

He said it was hoped that, “with the recently unveiled National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in November 2019 by the Federal Government, and giving other extant necessary legal instruments, the contribution from the entire ICT industry is going to improve significantly.”

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