Telcos brainstorm ‘dynamic’ regulations

Board chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, has pushed for the strengthening of regulations in the telcos sector as that was the only way to make the industry more relevant to the cause of national socio-economic transformation.

He said at the opening of a two-day symposium for sector actors in Accra: “ICT plays a significant role in the growth of every developing economy as it helps to fill the gaps in the access to basic social services to people in rural parts of the country who lack the access to relevant infrastructure.

“For instance, through relevant policies and strategies, the NCA can be empowered to regulate communication between medical personnel in the rural and urban areas while financial transactions can be conducted over both the internet and voice.”

The NCA boss indicated that aside the socio-economic prospects, recent developments in the ever evolving telecoms sector holds challenges that will require enhanced regulations and the cooperation of various actors to surmount.

Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie said: “This symposium has come at a time when it is needful for the role of the regulator to be as equally dynamic as the industry.

The regulator of the telecoms sector is currently looking at appropriate ways of tackling some of the pressing concerns in the industry including the issue of Over-The-Top services (OTTs), the increasing spate of cyber-crime and a  possible redefinition of the market data measurement and accumulation through digitisation.

He said: “The future of the telecommunications environment has become broader and smaller; broader because people are now getting access to ICT by the day hence the need for wider scoping of the sector regulator and sister agencies, and smaller because the world has become easier to reach.”

The symposium was organised on the occasion of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the NCA to pool together sectors in the telecoms sector to learn from each other as well as build on the regulatory activities to facilitate the sustained growth of the African communication regulatory environment.

Director-General of the NCA, William Tevie, said the symposium kick-starts bold steps being taken by communication regulatory bodies on the continent to proactively harness the ICT domain for productive use.

He said in his remarks: “No one can deny the fact that ICT has incredible potential to improve the development outcomes in both developed and developing worlds as all the three pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection; need ICT as a propeller to make the needed impacts.

Mr. Tevie emphasised that the role of the telecoms sector regulator is expanding as ICT continues to evolve and contradictorily converge as a result of new technologies.

He added: “To this end, the regulator will at every point in time, will have to be ahead of all other stakeholders to be appropriately enabled to guide the industry.”