Federal Government Rejects Proposals to Merge Government Media, Regulatory Bodies

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda June 10, 2014 14:51 Updated

Federal Government Rejects Proposals to Merge Government Media, Regulatory Bodies

The Federal Government has rejected proposals by the Oronsaye Committee for the merger of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as mergers of Federal Government (FG) owned media organizations. The rejection was contained in the FGs White Paper on the Oronsaye Committee Report on the rationalization and restructuring of Federal Parastatals, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The Oronsaye Committee was created to advice on the restructuring and rationalization of the FGs public institutions with overlapping functions in some cases without regard to their efficacy in the attainment of the socio-economic Agenda of the FG leading to escalation in cost of governance. The White paper from the FG accepted, rejected and noted some of the recommendations of the committees report.

The FG rejected all recommendations made for the NCC which are:

  • The NCC, NBC and the regulatory functions of NIPOST be brought together under a unified management structure to be known as the Communications Regulatory Authority of Nigerian (CRAN);
  • At least three directorates be created under the proposed CRAN to perform the  functions of broadcast, tele­communications and regulatory functions of postal services ;
  • The enabling laws of NCC and NBC be repealed and another enacted for the proposed Communications Regulatory Authority of Nigeria (CRAN); and
  • The enabling law of NIPOST be amended to reflect, among others, the transfer of its regulatory functions to the proposed CRAN.

The FG rejected most of the recommendations made by the committee for the restructuring of the Federal Ministry of Information.  The committee proposed that the Federal Radio Corporation Nigeria (FRCN) and Voice of Nigeria (VON) be merged; the enabling law of the FRCN be amended to accommodate the merger with VON; and the enabling law of VON be repealed. It also proposed that the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), FRCN/VON be merged into one body to be known as the Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria (FBCN);  a single governing board be established for the merged FRCN/VON and NTA; and the new entity have, among others, two departments, one each for Radio and Television, each to be headed by an Executive Director one of whom should be appointed Chief Executive of the proposed FBCN. The proposed FBCN should have a Managing Director and Executive Directors for each of the broadcasting departments; the selection process for the positions of the Managing Director and Executive Directors be transparent and competitive; and the enabling laws of the NTA and FRCN/VON be repealed and a new one enacted to accommodate the proposed consolidation of the agencies. It also suggested that the proposed FBCN be partially commercialized which was rejected by the FG though it  directed that NTA be fully commercialized by 2013.

The FG also rejected the recommendations made on National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The committee recommended the functions of NITDA be transferred to the Ministry of Technology as a Department and the enabling law of NITDA be amended. The FG rejected the recommendation to amend the NITDA Act and directs that NITDA continues to remain as an Agency under the Ministry of Communication Technology.

Under the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) the FG accepted the committee recommendation that the commission should serve as the repository of all biometric data capture for the management of identity in the country for proper coordination and harmonization: and that all relevant agencies that perform biometric data capture mandatorily interface with NIMC for the purpose of identity management and administration. The FG rejected the recommendation that the NIMC be appropriately located in the Ministry of Interior with a view to preserving institutional legacy and ensuring effective synergy among all the data collecting and collation agencies or alternatively, in the proposed Ministry of Special Duties. The committee recommended that the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) continues to be funded by the government to enable it carry out its assigned functions of developing, administering and enforcing transparency and accountability in the extractive industry in Nigeria, under the supervision of the Ministry of Special Duties. This recommendation was accepted by the FG.

The committee also recommended changes for Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBL). The Committee recommends that NITEL be liquidated without further delay which was agreed by the FG stating that the liquidation process was ongoing.  It was recommended for GDL to be appropriately restructured to meet its set objectives and the FG should issue a directive that all MDAs consult with GBL on all ICT related issues. The FG noted this restructuring recommendation and further directed that the supervisory Ministry should clearly define and delineate the status and functions of GBL.

The Committee recommended and the FGH accepted that it should sell off its shares in Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited and the functions of NigComSat that relate to space development be reverted to the National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA). It was also suggested that the budgetary allocations to the NigComSat cease from the 2013 Fiscal Year.

It was recommended that the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) be commercialized with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year, but with Government seed funding; and the Corporation should continue to be domiciled, in the Federal Ministry of Information. The FG accepts this recommendation but directed the Minister of Information to reorganize the NFC for full commercialization by 2016. The FG accepted that the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board be transferred to a department in the Federal Ministry of Information but rejected that that the enabling law of the National Film and Video Censors Board be amended to reflect the new status.

The FG agreed that it will not continue to fund professional associations such as Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and Nigeria Press Council. It said they are all professional associations and are encouraged to register with the CAC. However, Government said it will continue to support regulatory bodies. The report also suggested that the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment be brought together as an agency and their mandate streamlined to ensure greater efficiency. The Committee proposed that the enabling laws of the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the Commercial Law Department be repealed and a new law enacted to reflect the proposed merger of the two bodies. This recommendation was noted and accepted by the government. Government also accepted the recommendation that the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) continues to be funded by the Government and remains in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

It recommended that the functions of National Orientation Agency (NOA) be transferred to the Department of Public Communications in the Federal Ministry of Information and its 774 offices be closed and its staff redeployed within the Federal Civil Service after a staff audit and assessment has been carried out. The Committee proposed that budgetary allocations to NOA ceases with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year and the enabling law of the NOA be amended. The report also proposed similar recommendations for the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on its budgetary allocations which it said should stop with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year. It added that the Act establishing NICO be repealed and the Institute abolished. The FG rejected the recommendation.

Media Rights Agenda
By Media Rights Agenda June 10, 2014 14:51 Updated
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