February 15, 2021
By Alhaji Sowa
The National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), the country’s telecommunications regulator, recently played host, from the 10th to 12th February 2021, to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), another regulator of similar nature in that country.
When the LTA landed at Jendema on the Liberia border, they were received by a team of NATCOM officials. Among the visiting team were the Acting Chairman/Commissioner, Maria Harrison, Commissioners Isreal Akinsanya, Jaiah Masssaquoi, James Lynch, Natalie Kollie, Numene T.H.Bartekwa among others.
The rationale behind the visit was geared towards enhancing and deepening collaboration between the two regulators, which according to both sides, is very critical in the telecommunications eco-system.
Among the issues that the team from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority raised for discussions were collaboration for the 18th Annual General Meeting of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulator Assembly (WATRA), free roaming, cross border coordination and rural connectivity (Universal Access).
Chairman/Commissioner of NATCOM, Ambassador Joe Blell. warmly welcomed the LTA delegation to Sierra Leone and told them to be at ease whilst in the country.
He acknowledged that there has been a long sisterly tie between the two countries and that NATCOM is always willing to collaborate with its partner on the objective of improving the quality of telecommunications services in both countries.
He emphasised the need for both regulators to be sharing ideas and experiences from time to time on how to enhance telecommunications in both countries and better improve the lives of people as well as mobilize meaningful revenue for the governments of both countries.
On his part, Director General of NATCOM, Daniel Kaitibi, expressed delight for receiving the delegation from Liberia, stating that it was very imperative to speak on cross-pollination of ideas and share experiences.
The DG said they will frankly discuss the issues that the LTA delegation raised, stating that he was looking forward to joining forces together with a view of enhancing improved telecommunications, Information, Communications and Technology for development.
He said that the meeting between the two regulators was really in tune with President Julius Maada Bio’s vision of fast tracking digital transformation in Sierra Leone.
Speaking on behalf of the LTA delegation, Commissioner Isreal Akinsanya expressed appreciation for the cordial welcome his delegation received from NATCOM.
He noted that the discussions between the delegation from LTA and NATCOM would further help them assess and manage future spectrum demand.
Areas like Tomorrow’s Communications, relating to Spectrum solutions and expertise in Spectrum Management, Radio Monitoring, Network Planning, Implementation and Optimization, were also thoroughly discussed in a well-structured dialogue.
Discussions were also held by the LTA delegation with the Mano River Union Secretariat and the Ministry of Information and Communications.