NCR to create ICT platform for industry players

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Charles Benoni Okine (2nd left) interacting with Mr William Tevie (2nd right)

The Network of Communication Reporters (NCR) will from this year, hold a series of Information Communications Technology (ICT) forum to allow players in the industry to deliberate and discuss issues affecting the sector. 

The forum, which is expected to create a unique platform for players in the ICT industry to communicate the kind of services they provide to the public, will also serve as an avenue to discuss issues affecting the industry in general. 

The Dean of the NCR, Mr Charles Benoni Okine, revealed this in Accra when the NCR paid a courtesy call on the new Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr William Tevie, at the weekend.

The call afforded the NCR to formally welcome the new director-general to his new post and to discuss issues of mutual interest, including training for members of the network to enable them to better understand the technicalities in the industry and to disseminate such appropriately to the public. 


Mr Okine said: “We believe that there are many issues within the sector which needs much attention than we find now. We want the platform to be one that will enable the players in the industry to launch new products, re-launch existing products and services, raise issues of concern for the industry and discuss how it can be addressed for the benefit of their customers.”

“It will also be a platform for the regulator to address concerns of the players in the industry; it will enable the NCR to set national agenda regarding issues concerning the industry,” he said and added that “we are working out the final action plan to kick-start it in due course and we urge all players in the industry and the regulator to embrace this laudable plan.”

Taxes of mobile devices

The dean called for drastic reduction of taxes on imported mobile phones into the country to help promote the usage of the fourth generation Long Term Evolution (4GLTE) compactible handsets in the country.  

Subsequently, the network appealed to the NCA to champion the cause in order for the government to reduce the excise duty imposed on mobile phones. It further noted that the more the usage of the 4G services, the faster the telecom companies can recoup their investments in the 4G infrastructure.

The government has recently come under attack for imposing high taxes on the importation of mobile phones. The high taxes have resulted in a rise in the smuggling of inferior handsets into the country. Aside the fact that the handsets are not 4G compactible, they also mostly affect the quality of calls among other things. 

“We have seen the introduction of the 4G in the country, the new entrant being MTN Ghana which went commercially live last week; we know that these companies which include Surfline, Blu, Busy and Goldkey have made enormous investments and they have to recoup that to be able to reinvest in other areas to improve the quality of the service while expanding to areas where they are not present,” Mr Okine said.  

Going forward, Mr Okine said the NCR would continue to champion the progress of the telecommunications industry in the country to enable it to contribute more to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Appreciation

Mr Tevie thanked the NCR for the visit and the confidence reposed in him as the head of the NCA. He added that he would periodically engage groups such as the NRC to discuss issues affecting the industry.  

Mr Tevie replaced the previous Director-General, Mr Paarock VanPercy, who ended his term of office.

A press release by the NCA issued recently said as the director-general, Mr Tevie, under the guidance of the governing board, will be responsible for regulating the growing and developing communications industry in Ghana. 

He was the former Director-General of the National Information Technology Agency and a member of the previous NCA Board of Directors from 2009 to 2013, chairing the board's subcommittee on Research in addition to being a member of the board's subcommittee on Operations, Finance & Audit and Project Management.

The NCA is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in the country.