Ministry of Information & Communications and NATCOM engage Stakeholders on the Electronics Communications Act 2020.
The Ministry of Information and Communications in collaboration with the National Telecommunications Commission – NATCOM has engaged national Stakeholders in the Telecommunications sector on the Electronics Communications Act 2020, at the J & E resort, Koribondo Highway in Bo city.
This Stakeholder engagement took place on the 4th and 5th of September 2020. Participants attended the highly successful event from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Leadership of Political Parties represented in Parliament, Chairman of ICT Committee in Parliament, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Media, Bank of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Finance, NRA, and Many More.
The Ministry of Information and Communications has been working closely with key sector Leads to ensure that the ICT / telecommunications sector have a predictable environment for the management of ICT/telecommunications as part of an over reaching reform strategy to be able to be up to speed with new and emerging trends in the Industry, hence the need for the engagement. The validation of the draft Electronics Communications Act 2020 is part of the process that will eventually lead to repealing and replacing the National Telecommunications Act 2006 as Amended.
In her opening remarks, the chairperson of the occasion, Madam Mamadi Gobeh- Kamara who is also the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, implored Participants to contribute meaningfully to the validation process that will eventually lead to efficient service delivery in the sector in line with the Mid Tern National Development Plan. She continued to say that H.E. President Bio has prioritized digital inclusion as a pillar for the transformation of the socio-economic development for the people of Sierra Leone and therefore, the need for these reforms cannot be overemphasized.
The Minister of Information and Communications Hon. Mohamed Rahman Swaray who delivered the keynote address explained the objectives of the stakeholder validation engagement on the draft Electronics Communication Act 2020.
He posited that this was to build a consensus on the development of a predictable Legal and Regulatory Framework for the ICT / Telecommunications Sector. He furthered that the reform will establish a Legal regime that promotes a technology-neutral regulatory environment aimed at facilitating the deployment, exploitation, and development of new ICT telecommunication products, services, and systems within the economy and society, and protect consumer rights.
He stated that the validation is the product of their collective effort to making the draft Act an all-inclusive national document.
The minister continued to say that the draft electronic communications Act 2020 is the government’s intention to address the critical legal and regulatory areas that are needed to lay the basis for transforming Sierra Leone into a digital economy and position the country for inclusive sustainable socio-economic development leveraging the opportunities ICT/ telecommunications provide.
He urged the participants to do due diligence in their contributions in the validation exercise so that the final document will speak the minds of all sector players.
In her statement, the Acting Chairperson of NATCOM, Madam Madiana Samba expressed thanks and appreciation to the leadership of the Ministry of Information and Communication for their commitment towards ensuring that the process becomes a success.
She added that the draft Electronic Communications Act 2020 provides an opportunity for improved delivery of telecommunication services for all sector players –Regulators, Operator,s and Consumers. She described the telecommunication sector as a dynamic sector that needs legal review and development.
Other speakers included William Sao Lamin, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society Organizations. Ibrahim Kabia spoke on behalf of the Consumer Protection Agency; Madam Haffie Haffner from Orange Sierra Leone spoke on behalf of the MNO’s.
The Acting Director of Communication in the ministry of Information and Communications, Mohamed M. Jalloh, did a PowerPoint presentation on the draft Electronic Communications Act 2020
Representatives from CSOs, MNOs, ISPs, political parties in Parliament, the media and ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), were placed in groups during the workshop to validate the proposed E-Communications Act, 2020.
One of the group sessions during the validation workshop in Bo city