[public agenda] The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, has criticized shoddy services some mobile telephony companies are foisting on their customers and warned that if the errant companies do not improve their services, government would be compelled to sanction them.
Expressing the concerns of the larger population, he observed that Ghanaians are particular about the quality of the communications services and the extent of indifference on the part of service providers is particularly worrying.
"There is no passing day without complaints being raised on the quality of service. Some of the services are atrocious and abysmal, and government will not hesitate to impose the severest sanctions to any service provider which disregards our regulations," he warned.
The Veep was delivering the keynote address at the four-day International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Forum on the "Implementation of Decisions of World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly-08(WTSA-08)" and the ITU Study Group 12 Africa Region Workshop which ends today.
Participants consisting of policy makers, regulators, telecom operators mainly from Africa in the ITU industry are reviewing the African experience in the WTSA-08 and considering the activities put in place to implement resolutions adopted in Johannesburg last year that are of interest to Africa.
Mr. Mahama recognized the importance of communicating freely as it is a pre-requisite for a more equitable, prosperous and peaceful world. To this end, he urged developing countries to be concerned with the so-called Digital Divide which has the tendency to further push developing countries to the margins of global development.
"With the advances in technology and in this era of convergence, where traditional telephone services, mobile networks, Television and radio broadcasting now carrying new kinds of services, the ITU should provide assurance that its standards will work anywhere in the world and that equipment will integrate effortlessly with installed systems," he anticipated.
He recalled the reforms that have taken place in the ITU sector in Ghana from the mid-1990s leading to liberalization, and Government Communication policy initiated in 1998 to address rural access, media and broadcasting, and also the application of technology for the education and health sectors.
The Vice President reiterated Government's commitment to making ICT the key to the future of Ghana despite the economic challenges confronting the country. "In the face of economic problems, Government is continuing with the provision of broadband infrastructure in all the administrative districts of the country. While this will facilitate the implementation of our policy e-Government programme, it will help reduce the cost of bandwidth and also the cost of doing business in Ghana".
The Minister of Communications, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, was of the view that in this Information and Technology Age, it was necessary for everyone to be abreast with current developments, irrespective of where one resides so that none is left out in the quest for socio-economic development.
He said government is particularly unhappy about the indiscriminate sitting of communications towers. "Indeed, it is unsightly and poses environmental challenges and the National Communications Authority (NCA) should do best to enforce regulations on co-location".
On the war on cyber crime, Hon. revealed that the ITU would be sending a technical team within the next two months to help the country address the rising incidence of cyber threats.
Reviewing the WTSA-08 meeting in South Africa, the Director of Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) of the ITU, Mr. Malcom Johnson, disclosed that the meeting adopted a resolution on ICTs and climate change, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, and encouraging academic participation and sector member countries.
He said the meeting advocated that ITU should continue on its mission to connect the world and bridged the standardization gap, by increasing developing countries participation in the ITU's work.
He said Africa is now represented by eight leadership positions compared to just four previously and this "sends a very positive message to the rest of the world."
Gov't Will Sanction Errant Mobile Phone Companies