Senator Gilbert Nnaji, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, has said that his Committee is determined to see that the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) is revitalised to take its pride of place in the nation’s economy.
Nnaji also said he was optimistic that the Nigerian Telecommunications Company Limited (NITEL) will rise again, adding that all that is expected of Nigerians is patience.
In a press statement sent to THISDAY by the Media Adviser, Mr Monday Charles, Senator Nnaji said that his Committee has been working towards tackling the NIPOST challenges with every seriousness that it deserves, assuring that the revival of the company would depend on time.
“NIPOST’s revival depends largely on time. Remember also that the Nigerian Postal Sector Bill is slated to receive topmost priority in the course of our deliberations and oversight functions”, he said, adding that he was sure that “Nigerians shall post letters and cargoes with ease and certainty again”.
On what the Committee is doing to address the issue of NITEL, Nnaji said that the true position of NITEL would become very clear when the on-going investigative hearing on BPE is concluded and decision taken.
He said that the Committee was working towards ensuring that NITEL rises again, adding that this was just a question of time.
The Senate Committee Chairman said his Committee was happy with the performance of the Ministry of Communication Technology which was created from the Ministry of Information, adding that the Ministry has initiated programmes that will move the industry forward despite the challenges.
“It is heart-warming to say that despite these challenges, the ministry is already on course in all ramifications. For instance, the ICT Policy that was evolved by the ministry remains a masterpiece. It would reduce to the barest minimum, all the losses associated with duplication of duties by all the ICT-related agencies. The blueprint is now being publicised for inputs would be passed into law very soon after all other necessary actions”, he said.
He recalled that on inception, the Committee had set some target areas for immediate legislative intervention, including the review of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Act 2003, facilitation of SIM Card Registration Bill passage and to prevail on service providers and relevant stakeholders on tariff reduction and improvement on service quality.
Other targets, according to him, include investigation into the cause of the unnecessary delay in the take-off of Rural Telephony operations in the country.
He however expressed regret that the Committee has been faced with other challenges, including the Steve Orasanya Report which provided for the absorption of certain parastatals into the Ministry as departments.
“The effects of this are quite obvious. Secondly, we have the issue of conflicting of roles between NESREA and NCC in regulating the operations of GSM service providers. But despite these challenges, our essential task as a committee is to embark on all manner of cooperation and collaboration with the relevant stakeholders to move the evolving ICT industry forward towards economic development”.
On the huge amount spent by NCC on SIM Card registration, Nnaji said that the issue is currently receiving the attention of his Committee.
“I cannot in any way preempt the Senate Committee on Communications. By this I wish to restate that every issue relating to SIM Card, NCC and the GSM service providers are receiving priority attentions at the committee level. So at the appropriate time Nigerians would appreciate the determination and efforts of the committee in discharging its oversight functions.
“What we rather expect from the public now is cooperation by way of useful information and suggestions on how to make the communications sector a major player in the transformation agenda of this government”, he said.