Committee on Information Held Interactive Session with NATCOM
The Parliamentary Committee on Information has held interactive session with the country’s communication regulatory body, the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM).
The well attended meeting which attracted Members of Parliament, senior and junior staff of NATCOM, the media and members from the public was held at the Administrative Building Conference Hall, Tower Hill in Freetown on Monday, October 21st, 2019.
Addressing the Hall, Chairman for Information Committee in Parliament, Hon. Mathew Nyuma said he called the meeting together with colleagues as part of their functions to scrutinize and look at the challenges and successes of NATCOM, which he described as an institution working in accordance with the Telecom Act.
The Chairman emphasized that as Parliament is a law making institution, they have role to play because, he continued that they equally wanted to see how best they can move NATCOM forward as a regulatory body.
He encouraged NATCOM administrative staff that Parliamentarians are their friends because their functions are enacted by Parliament.
In his response, the Director General NATCOM, Maxwell Massaqoui, who firstly discussed on the issue of cyber crimes, informed the gathering that they are very much aware about the prevalence of fraudsters that are using mobile operators’ facility to defraud innocent citizens and aliens.
He discussed that the said fraudsters are using names of prominent people to confuse their victims and also thrown light on their cooperation an finances in which he said, they are experiencing an increase in income generation.
He discussed that NATCOM is telecom regulator adding that they should not be considered as a revenue generation institution and maintained that they were happy to have fruitful engagement with the committee.
The DG spoke about the respect they have for Parliament and thrown light on the oversight engagement they did some years back. He said after the oversight engagement, they discovered lot of challenges and cited the changes of political heads that have took place in the institution.
He also ascertained that he was encouraging Members of Parliament to understand that indeed cyber crime is on the rampage in this part of the world and discussed on strategies they have put in place to combat the menace, which he said have suffered many people.
Mr. Massaqoui said NATCOM as an industry is growing and spoke about the necessity involve to be sharing ideas with Parliament and elaborated on their target to ensure internet facility available to Government offices.
He disclosed that they at NATCOM have closely looked in to the issue of tariff and assured that they are going to bring the tariff down. He enlightened that they have been discussing roaming problem in the Ecowas Region and assured that after concluding deliberations with mobile service providers, they would be going by Ecowas vision.
In his statement, NATCOM Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Sheriff recounted that they are going to find possible means to increase revenue and discussed on the danger of cyber crime.
He said one aspect of NATCOM is to broaden the internet base adding that they are targeting the West African Power Pool lineage and mentioned that to increase their revenue base, they are looking for other ways to bring revenue.
By Amira Tatayea Bangura
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