At a workshop held yesterday, at the Bintumani Conference Hall, NATCOM Board of Commissioners Chairman, Momoh Kemoh Konteh established that the workshop was in a bid for the commission to thoroughly execute its function to protect consumer interest and ensure fair competition among service providers.
Konteh stated that the workshop foster a tariff dialogue forum between and amongst, mobile service providers, internet service providers, civil society representatives, consumer protection agency, youth parliament, motor drivers union, bike riders, market women, petty traders, ‘ataya base’ and the media to act in capacity as observers in the dialogue forum.
Member of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Information, Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Ben-Kargbo stated that telecommunications operators must ensure that their tariff must be at an affordable cost, as well as encouraging consumers to understand that the telecoms sector required their cooperation for them to survive in the country’s market. He further explained that the government had already established an enabling environment for operators to thrive well; as he said the landing of the fiber optic cable, the submarine cable and terrestrial infrastructure will facilitate effective and efficiency service delivery in the telecoms sector.
The market leader of the telecommunications service providers, Africell, Managing Director MD, Shadi Gerjawi ascertained that there are interconnection dependency in almost all the existing operators in the telecoms sector, he affirmed that Africell had invested a lot in the country, as they spent a lot on equipment, regulators license, foreign exchange, electricity, fuel, workforce amongst other expenses the company incurred. He further explained that the country still exists in the 2010 tariff system Le 410.00 per minute, Shadi stated that the reviewed and agreed 2012, tariff had never been implemented.
It was against that backdrop, the Africell MD banked on as he requested for a minimal tariff increment, in order to sustain and allow telecoms operators to provide quality services in the country.
Sierratel and Airtel also streamed in the same direction with Africell as they made a plea to the government and the general public for a minimal increment on the tariff, owing to the fact that they have a massive running cost, especially Sierratel who are rendering direct voice services.
To be continued in the next edition…