The perceived monopoly of the South African-owned satellite cable television, DSTV, may soon be a thing of the past, as a bill meant to make broadcasting more competitive in the country passed through second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill is being sponsored by Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnena Elendu- Ukeje.
Justifying the need for the bill tagged: ‘A bill for an Act to amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act cap N11, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2014, to provide for competition in Nigeria, promote efficiency and Expand opportunities for Nigerians’ participation in world markets while at the same time recognise the role of foreign competition in Nigeria, and for other matters related thereto,’ Elendu- Ukeje said it is meant to strengthen the National Broadcasting Commission as an independent regulator.
According to her, the bill will also create room for competition through deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation, ensuring free market operation and also enforce penalty(s) to parties that go against the provisions of the law.
The piece of legislation, she said, will prevent price or rate fixing, price discrimination, restrictive exclusive content, abuse of dominant market position, and unconstitutional boycotting.
The proposed law, she said, is a remedy to the obvious lacuna in the NBC Act and strengthens the NBC as Nigeria has no set of codified laws that speaks to the subject matter.
According to her, Fourth Schedule, Section 39(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states expressly that every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information.
The bill has passed through second reading without debate when the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara called for a voice vote.
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