Consistent with its strategic objective of stakeholder collaboration and partnering, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently met a section of the mass media industry.
The forum was a workshop organised to keep Nigerian journalists reporting the telecom and ICT sector abreast of emerging developments in the telecom industry, to ensure the general public receives contextual, interpretive and illuminating reports on telecom matters.
The journalists who attended the workshop under the aegis of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), Abuja chapter, revelled in the opportunity provided by NCC to glean emerging trends and topical regulatory issues in the telecom industry.
The workshop was part of NCC’s commitment to encouraging the continuous professional development of journalists because the commission sees good journalism as central to the achievement of its mandate and the nation’s flourishing democratic project.
The training programme featured intense sessions focused on understanding the renewal the commission has brought to bear on many major industry issues, including International Termination Rate (ITR) for voice services, benefits of the National Identity Number/Subscriber Identity Module linkage (NIN-SIM integration), illegal use of GSM boosters, updates on Fifth Generation (5G) deployment plan, spectrum administration, as well as compliance monitoring and enforcement and other emergent regulatory matters.
Speaking at the workshop, which also featured special focus group discussions facilitated by subject-matter experts and senior officials of the commission from selected departments, the executive vice-chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said approval for the training was granted by management, in tandem with the commission’s media relations and stakeholder engagement strategy.
“Given the dynamic nature of the digital space and its impact on the economy, we believe this demands that our media partners are brought up to speed with the current requirements for maximum productivity and effective reporting of the telecom industry,” Danbatta, who was represented by the director, public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said, justifying the relevance of the workshop.
The EVC said through capacity-building initiatives such as the workshop organised for professionals in the media industry, “we would build mutually-beneficial relationships for sustained media support as we continue to discharge our mandate of regulating this dynamic sector for the benefit of Nigerians and the economy as a whole”.
Accordingly, Danbatta said NITRA is a long-standing strategic partner of the Commission and the knowledge empowerment programme through this workshop seeks to provide a platform for equipping stakeholders in the media with the knowledge and skillsets they require for effective, efficient and professional reporting.
The EVC, who commended the media stakeholders for their support over the years said without the support from journalists and other communication professionals, NCC would have been unable to deliver on its mandate as effectively as it has done over the years. Accordingly, Danbatta enjoined all members of NITRA to continue to support NCC’s programmes, activities and initiatives with the same enthusiasm with which they have been prioritising timely, adequate and accurate reportage of the nation’s telecom sector to enhance Nigeria’s growth and development.
Danbatta also stated that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, the NCC Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, the creation of a digital economy department in the commission, among others, underscored the policy directions of the Federal Government which the NCC is diligently driving by working with relevant industry stakeholders, including the media, to deepen commitment to a digital Nigeria.
“So, it is expected that by empowering the media as key stakeholders, they would be willing to ensure that the public is accurately and adequately informed and aware of the commission’s regulatory strides toward building a robust digital economy for our country,” the EVC said.
Speaking on behalf of members of NITRA after the training, the chairman, NITRA, Abuja chapter, Blessing Olaifa, commended the commission for providing a platform for sensitisation of media stakeholders on contemporary matters within the information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem, particularly the telecom industry and, especially, the initiatives of the commission in protecting telecoms’ consumers.
Olaifa, who was represented by NITRA’s secretary-general, Emmanuel Elebeke, applauded the commission for consistently supporting and partnering with the media. She said it is a demonstration of how transparent and accessible NCC has been with its stakeholders.
“We must commend NCC for its regulatory strides over the years. The success of the 5G auction in December 2021 easily comes to mind as one of the recent achievements of the commission, among several others. So, these capacity-building programmes will provide a collaborative partnership for an advanced digital economy and towards boosting the fortunes of ICT for development in Nigeria. Today, we have been thoroughly enlightened as better specialists in ICT journalism,” Olaifa said.