By JESSICA DOGO
ABUJA- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it will soon introduce registration fees on Type Approved telecommunication devices and Short Codes.
The commission made this known at the opening of a three-day public inquiry on draft of Telecom Regulations and Guidelines review on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is coming after the Federal Government planned to implement a five per cent inclusive Value Added Tax (VAT) on telecommunication services.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the review became necessary due to current realities in the industry.
Danbatta said that it had become imperative to amend all five existing regulatory instruments to reflect current realities.”
According to him, the regulatory instruments being reviewed cut across all sectors of the telecommunications industry.
“The Type Approval Regulations provides a framework for the approval of communications equipment for connection to communications networks in Nigeria.
“It is pursuant to sections 130 to 134 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.
“The guidelines on Short Code Operation is intended to prescribe a standard of practice for providers of short code services.
“It will also provide a revised framework for the provision of these services and for the protection against misuse.
“The third instrument, being the Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure,” he said.
According to him, it provides standards to be adhered to by Communications service providers towards ensuring environmental safety and sound engineering practices.
“The fourth instrument is the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions.
“It provides minimum requirements and standards for promotional advertisements by licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria.
“Finally, the fifth instrument, which is the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, amongst other, sets rules for consumer protection .
“It prescribes the procedures to be followed by a Licensee in preparing approved consumer codes of practice, in accordance with section 106 of the Act,” Danbatta said.
He said that the NCC had also introduced Business Rules for Type Approval to address issues that cannot be catered for in the regulations and ensure that the Type Approval process is seamless.
The EVC said that the Broadband penetration in Nigeria increased by 91.70 per cent in the last four years, with more than 84 million internet subscriptions in the country.
“It is our expectation that this review will improve the standards and procedures for Type Approvals, Operation of Short Codes and Advertisement and Promotions,” he said.
Mr Nwanze Ononye, Principal Manager, Technical Standards and Networks Integrity Department, said the type approved telecom devices and short codes for consumers used to be free.
“What the commission is introducing that was not there before is payment for Type Approved Telecom devices and Short Codes, which used to be free,” he said.
Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations, Legal and Regulatory Services Department, Ms Helen Obi, said that Public Inquiry was an avenue for the NCC to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders.
Obi said this would help in the development of its regulatory instruments.
“This process ensures that the regulatory instruments issued by the commission are in line with the current realities in the industry,” she said. (NAN)