The continued expansion of the digital ecosystem requires a proper regulatory framework to define and measure its impact. At a Digital Reform Conference held in Lagos to discuss the general overview of Digital reform and regulations, Professor H Sama Nwana looked at the various challenges plaguing the industry and the key players in the sector that are bringing about the or closing, the gap in regulations and innovations. According to him, the two categories that regulators have to take cognizance of are the citizen and the consumers since they are the people for which products and services are developed.
Prof Nwana who presented a paper titled, “Rethinking Regulation for the Digital Ecosystem” mentioned that for change to occur in any sector regulators have to pay attention to five key areas which include Technological Changes, Consumer Behavior, Industry, Macroeconomy and Regulation/policy. Based on these factors with the Nigerian environment as it is right now, it is safe to say that the Nigerian market is not in good shape and it can be predicted to get worse if we don’t have better policies and realistic regulations. According to him, more than 50% of Nigerians are not fully connected to the digital space with only about 4% of the total population connected or using the 4G network.
He believes that liberalising the sector and enabling regulations that would encourage competition would be in the best interest of the consumer, as it would bring about the value and better services. He made a recommendation for the broadcasting sector to incorporate Wi-Fi into their sector because according to him this would bring about a major paradigm shift in the right direction since the Wi-Fi is already embedded in almost all technological devices and equipment.
He concluded his presentation by saying that individual regulations for different sectors and some subsectors can be balanced and less asymmetrical to ensure uniformity and efficiency across the board, by understanding their roles, what they do, and the impact they are having. He stated that Amazon, Facebook and the likes should be looked out for when it comes to bringing innovations that have an understanding of the consumers at heart. Also, they should be watched out for because they are dynamic and they take into consideration the trends and disruptions of technology.
Mr Emeka Mba of Alexis Xavier who gave the open remark explained that the age of the analogue mindset with regulations and policies should be discarded. He stated that “you cannot regulate an industry which you cannot define or measure its impact” while urging members of the industry to actively shape up the industry by pushing their interests, sharing their stories, and stating the regulations that they want to be added or removed”. He ended his statement by asking that we have in mind what we can do about “conflict of a scarcity mindset in the age of abundance”, basically referring to the age of easy access to content, network services, and technology, as opposed to what obtained before these.
The conference is organized by Alexis Xavier. The company specializes in helping organizations meet the requirements of Nigerian regulation across a broad spectrum of industries.