The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has the authority under Section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA2003) to develop an E-waste Regulation for the telecommunications sector in the country.
This assertion was made by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta in his keynote address at the 2021 ITREALMS E-Waste Dialogue recently held at the Welcome Centre Hotels in Lagos with the theme: E-Waste in Nigeria: Consumer as key to Circular Economy & 20 years of GSM.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Head of New Media, Dr Ominiyi Ibietan, said that as of March 5, 2019, based on the Commission’s participatory rule-making procedure, came up with a draft of the E-waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines which were hitherto published on its website for comments from the general public, especially telecommunications operators and other stakeholders.
“A Public Inquiry on the E-waste Regulations and Disaster Recovery Guidelines was set for March 5, 2019, as required by law, and a Notice of the Public Inquiry was published on Monday, February 11, 2019, in the Daily Trust and New Telegraph Newspapers,” he stated.
He also revealed that over sixty-one (61) people representing telecommunications operators, interested stakeholders, and the media were in attendance at the public inquiry, which gave him the opportunity to explain why having a proper legal framework to regulate e-waste in the telecommunications sector is so important.
“Considering that e-waste is the world’s fastest increasing waste stream, and a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) analysis indicated that this waste stream surged by almost 48.5 million tonnes in 2018,” he stated.
E-waste, according to Prof. Danbatta, is “waste electrical or electronic equipment, including all components, subassemblies, and consumables that are part of the equipment at the moment the equipment becomes garbage.”
Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum, over 75% of electronics shipped into Nigeria were irreparable and hazardous garbage, implying that the problem remained widespread due to Nigerians’ desperate search for information and their low GDP per capita/poor income.
According to him, the abundance of e-waste has resulted in a slew of pollution issues that must be addressed due to the consequences for persons and the environment.
In addition, as part of its commitment to maintaining the sector’s extraordinary success over the past 20 years, NCC established the ‘Disaster Recovery Guidelines’ to reduce calamities that could disrupt business continuity and jeopardize the industry’s incredible success.
The Guidelines, according to Danbatta, are part of the Commission’s broader risk management activities, which aim to protect telecoms companies from the potential of emergencies in their operations.
He also stated that the Commission’s goal in adopting strong laws and recommendations is to help the business and the broader economy grow.
Prof. Danbatta gave a general review of NCC’s e-Waste rules, stating that they are made up of 31 regulations divided into sixteen (16) parts.
The Regulations also include one (1) Schedule, nine (9) Forms, and four (4) Tables, according to him, outlining the responsibilities and obligations of stakeholders in the e-waste value chain, including the manufacturer, collection and disposal facility agent, vendors, consumers or bulk consumers, recyclers, importers, and transporters.
The Regulations, according to the EVC, apply to all type-approved Electrical and Electronic Equipment as well as activities carried out by any individual in regard to Electrical and Electronic Equipment utilized in the Nigerian telecommunications business.
According to Mr Remmy Nweke, Executive Editor-in-Chief of ITREALMS Media, NCC won the 2021 ITREALMS Telecom E-Waste Regulator Award in appreciation of the Commission’s dedication to the regulation of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in the Telecom Sector.
The award was presented by the National President, National Association of Telecom Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo at the 2021 edition on behalf of the Commission by the Head of New Media, Dr Ominiyi Ibietan, who represented the EVC.