By: Thaimu Bai Sesay

The Parliamentary Committee on Communication Technology and Innovation held a crucial engagement on February 2nd, 2024, at Atlantic Hotel Lumley, bringing together key stakeholders in the telecommunications sector. The primary focus of the meeting was to optimize quality service delivery and tariff structures, ultimately aiming to enhance customer satisfaction.

In his official statement, Deputy Minister of Communication, Technology, and Innovation, Ibrahim Sannoh, highlighted significant achievements in the field. He noted a 48.4% mobile penetration rate, a 29% internet penetration rate, and successful fiber connectivity in 14 out of 16 districts. Despite these successes, the Deputy Minister acknowledged existing challenges and emphasized the need for collaboration among lawmakers, private sectors, and policymakers to address them. He stressed the importance of prioritizing mobile connectivity to realize the President’s vision of a cashless society and digital transformation.

Opposition Leader Hon. Abdul Kargbo commended the achievements but raised concerns about accessibility to information in rural areas. He emphasized the responsibility of stakeholders to expand infrastructure, ensuring that all Sierra Leoneans have access to government information. He advocated for lower and affordable tariffs, expressing that current internet service costs are beyond the means of many citizens.

Deputy Majority Leader Hon. Bashiru Sidike clarified Parliament’s role in making laws and outlined the purpose of the meeting: to listen to mobile companies and service providers and foster a collaborative dialogue for a positive communication environment accessible to everyone.

Chairman of the Communication, Technology, and Innovation Committee, Hon. Boston Munde, thanked attendees for their dedication to the industry’s growth. He outlined the goals of the interaction, including providing a platform for stakeholders to share experiences, generate ideas, and create a roadmap to overcome obstacles.

A representative from mobile companies, Fatorma, highlighted successes such as 5G technology, 83% population coverage with 4G, and contributions to digital transformation. However, he also pointed out challenges, including regulatory frameworks, poor infrastructure, and energy issues. He recommended the positive proliferation of mobile handsets, tax removal, and the adoption of 5G.

The event included contributions from various stakeholders, including the CEO of Metro Cables, a representative of UADF, Internet Service Providers, the National Cybersecurity Coordination Centre, and others. The meeting concluded with a panel discussion on optimizing quality service delivery and tariff structures for better customer satisfaction, involving communication field stakeholders and lawmakers.


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