The national body charged with the coordination and regulation of spectrum license allocations across regional and international borders, has regained its autonomous status following a clarification from the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami.
The National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), in accordance with the provisions of the Act establishing it in 2003, will now operate independently as opposed to being supervised by the Ministry.
At his inaugural meeting as Chairman of Council, Dr Pantami faulted the domiciling of the Council as a department under the Ministry, citing Section 30(2) of the Act which expressly states that officials of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, shall serve as Secretariat to the Council. This he emphasised, does not translate to the Council being reduced to the status of a department within the Ministry, as the independent status of the Council, is clearly maintained in the Act establishing it.
The NFMC was established by the Communications Act of 2003, which empowers the body, to coordinate and regulate spectrum license allocations, across regional and international borders. In his maiden address to council members, the Chairman disclosed that under his leadership, national interest must supersede sectoral or personal interests, emphasizing that the protection of the consumer is paramount, while providing an enabling environment for industry players to thrive, within the dictates of the law.
The highlight of his inaugural meeting as Council Chairman, was the inauguration of the National Frequency Management Council / Nigeria Police Force (NFMC/NPF), Joint Committee on evaluation of 450MHz Police equipment, in line with the provisions of the law empowering the Council to extend membership to competent and qualified persons or organisations that may assist it in the discharge of its duties.
The Minister also mandated that a Frequency Audit be carried out on all the Spectrum Licenses issued from inception till date, to determine the amount paid and to determine if Spectrum licenses issued, were been used for the purposes they have been assigned accordingly.
Pantami also directed that the Management of regulatory bodies represented on the Council, particularly, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), should immediately propose subsidiary legislation to support the existing Act, for enhanced efficiency and fairness to the consumers, with regards to payment of Satellite Television stations and exploitation, by some of them.
The meeting which was Dr Pantami’s first as NFMC Chairman, was the 48th of the council.