Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Liberia - LTA, Communication Service Providers On ECOWAS ICT Supplementary Acts

[the inquirer] The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is holding a three-day stakeholders' workshop aimed at validating the action plan of the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) regarding the transposition of its six Information Communication Technology (ICT) supplementary Acts. ECOWAS Legal Advisor at the Commission, Yaouza Ouro-Sama, informed the Conference that only five of ECOWAS States have incorporated the Acts into their laws eventhough harmonization of key issues have become a serious challenge.

The six instruments of ECOWAS Supplementary Acts validated at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia are the ICT Policy; Interconnection Framework; Legal Regime; Frequency Principles; Numbering Program and Universal Access. Postal Affairs Minister Jeremiah Sulunteh said ECOWAS' priority in the context of regional infrastructure and service provision is to work with its member states to harmonize the ICT Supplementary Acts into their respective national laws.

Min. Sulunteh praised the ICT experts from member states for their commitment and productive capacity who worked with the Commission in translating the leadership's vision to reality noting that ECOWAS is committed to improving the living standard of its people. LTA's Chairperson Angelique Weeks said the process ongoing in Monrovia is due to Liberia's slow pace taken in harmonizing the instrument into its national laws. She reminded that Liberia has already lagged behind in adhering to the guidelines established by the working groups at the session.

She said the workshop is intended to give cross section of the Liberian stakeholders their say in the harmonization of the ICT Supplementary Acts which when ratified would boost the support policy creation to attract investment in the country. The Senate Chairperson on Post and Telecommunications, Gbezongar Findley called on the participants and stakeholders to seriously consider results that would emerge from the meeting because it must have the imput of all if it is to be ratified.

The ECOWAS ICT Supplementary Acts seek to create a common market in the region in which universal access is promoted and entry barriers are removed with low cost of entry. Areas currently being validated at the ongoing workshop are the fundamentals of the Acts; the supplement provisions and regulations; incorporating the Supplementary Acts on ICT Policy; Universal Access; Interconnection; frequency and numbering as well as the transposition process.

The presenters are LTA's legal consultants Cllrs. Lavalla Supuwood and Richard Klah while between feedbacks from stakeholders, LTA Director Zayzay Howard would lead the section on the strategy and implementation plan. At the 31st session of the Authority of Heads of States and government of ECOWAS on January 19, 2007, members of the 15 ECOWAS States were mandated to enact national laws that will develop, modernize, coordinate and standardize their Telecommunications networks in order to provide reliable interconnection within the region.

During the session in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the member States were mandated to also coordinate efforts to mobilize national and international financial resources aimed at attracting private sector participation in the provision of telecommunication services among other things.

LTA, Communication Service Providers On ECOWAS ICT Supplementary Acts

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