Nigeria, WATRA Sign Agreement to Adopt Framework for Telecom Regulation

The Federal Government of Nigeria and West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), on Wednesday in Abuja, signed an agreement to adopt a comprehensive framework for the regulation of telecommunications activities.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Adebayo Shittu, minister of communication, said WATRA was established by member states of ECOWAS as an organisation that consists of independent National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and departments for regulation of telecommunications services established by governments of member-states in ECOWAS and Mauritania.

Its mission is to promote rapid and even development in telecommunications in West Africa and attain globally competitive standards while facilitating accelerated development of telecommunications infrastructure and provision of services at affordable rates in the sub region.

The Federal Executive Council has given approval for Nigeria’s hosting of the headquarters of WATRA at its 5th meeting on April 13, 2015.

“What we are doing here today is to formalise what both the minister of justice and the federal executive council have started,’’ the minister said.

Shittu said that NCC did not only play a vital role in the establishment of WATRA but also hosted it and produced its executive secretary at two different occasions.

He said that the signing of the agreement had been vetted and approved by the Attorney General of the Federation and Ministry of Justice.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission of (NCC) expressed his appreciation to the Federal Government for accepting to host WATRA as a regulatory body for the African Sub-region in Nigeria.

Danbatta said that the signing of the agreement would no doubt accelerate the process of designing and adopting a comprehensive framework for the regulation of telecommunications activities in the sub-region.

According to him, WATRA was conceived during an African Internet Summit (AFRINET) held in 2000 at ECOWAS Secretariat, Abuja, in the realisation that telecommunications development in West Africa required regional integration.

Danbatta said that WATRA was launched on Sept. 22, 2000 at the ECOWAS auditorium and “at the moment has 15 African countries as members.”

“So far, WATRA has been in the forefront of the campaign for infrastructure sharing (co-Location) services amongst member states. It has contributed to the development of policies to enhance universal access and telecoms penetration in rural and under-served areas in the sub-region. It is my hope that the signing of the Headquarter agreement will pave way for WATRA to achieve its set goals,” Danbatta added.

The organization was set up to encourage the establishment of modern and regulatory structures for telecommunications service delivery in all states in the sub-region. The Federal Government and Ministry of Communication was commended for the support in achieving this laudable agreement for the benefit of West Africa and Africa at large.

Source: Footprint to Africa

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