Liberian President and Chairperson of ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf says the sub-region’s telecommunication experts must address one key situation regarding the high telecommunications roaming charges that ECOWAS citizens face when commuting across the region.
She was speaking Thursday morning, 27 April in Monrovia while opening the 14th Annual General Meeting of the West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly or WATRA at the Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor.
“One key situation to consider in this regard is how to address the high telecommunications roaming charges our people face when commuting across the region”, said Mrs. Sirleaf.
Liberia’s Telecommunications Authority or LTA is hosting delegates from ECOWAS countries in the telecommunication sector, including WATRA’s Chairman Gaoo Gomes and other Executives, among others.
Mrs. Sirleaf says, she is interested in practical ways to effectively address the infrastructure gaps that are still affecting the affordability of services across the region.
While acknowledging developments in the region, she suggests that there are specific targets that must be met as a people, challenging regulatory and policy experts to finalize projects that are being worked on for the good of ECOWAS.
She says over the last few years in ECOWAS’ ICT sector, cross-border connectivity has increased, driven by the need to ensure harmonization and standardization of services towards creating a common market.
Mrs. Sirleaf adds that member countries have shown commitment to domesticate ECOWAS Supplementary Acts into their respective national laws, aimed at creating a seamless operational environment that adds value to the development of the ICT sector.
“Liberia’s delegations to ECOWAS forums have indicated that there is a Market Analysis and Business Model being considered to facilitate the building of an ECOWAS Wide Area Network”, she says.
At the same time President Sirleaf says there is a strong need for regulatory oversight in the region to ensure that sustainability is crucial, while endorsing an ECOWAS five - year ICT strategic plan that seeks to address overdue infrastructure gaps in the ICT sector which has been validated.
She concludes that WATRA also has a role as a stakeholder within the sector to robustly support how these programs can be actualized. Liberia’s Post and Telecommunication Minister Dr. Frederick Nokeh says technicians and specialists within the region, have resolved to enhance investment …, and established the sub-regional group WATRA in 2004 with the intent of closely monitoring telecommunications services for the region’s collective development needs.
He expressed gratitude to the continuous support and unwavering commitment of President Sirleaf to the sector to ensure a people -friendly telecommunications industry here.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited Othello B. Garblah