In a bid to encourage local content in the telecommunications industry through Value Added Services, the House of Representatives has initiated a bill for an Act to Regulate Value Added Service in the sector.
The proposed legislation amongst other things, seeks to provide the legal framework with which the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), can ensure that the current sharing formula between the Mobile Network (MNOs), the VAS and content developers and VAS hosting service providers is reviewed upward in line with industry best practice.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Chukwuemeka Ujam who spoke on the bill at the weekend, said the main objective of the bill is to ensure the protection of the Nigerian VAS ecosystem from foreign invasion and exploitation.
Ujam while stressing the need to encourage and protect local content in the industry, lamented the current state of affairs in the industry saying that it is “inimical to the development of the sector as it poses great challenges such as discrimination against subscribers; and perpetuation of fraud against the public through short codes assigned for Value Added Services among other menaces”.
“There is need for us to develop and encourage local contents in the industry and in doing that, content developers who are the major players in the VAS segment of the industry, will be rewarded”.
The lawmaker who is deputy chairman of the House Committee on Telecommunications also bemoaned practices whereby MNOs bully content providers adding that the bill will ensure that revenue is shared rightly with a view to encouraging local participation and stimulating further growth in the industry.
Additionally, the Telecom Value Added Services Regulatory when passed, will also ensure strict adherence to contractual terms between and among parties as well as strict adherence to anti-competition and anti-trust rules and regulations.
Leadership recalls that the VAS operators who have been at logger heads with the network operators have called for the upward review of the current revenue sharing formula to better their lot.