Aug 18, 2008, 6:45 AM
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure acting under Section 7(2) of the Information and Communication Act, CAP 74.03 Laws of The Gambia, 2009, Tuesday granted International Data Gateway Licenses to four GSM companies and Internet Service Providers (ISP) licenses to two service providers in the country.
Africell, Gamcel, Comium and Qcell, Unique Solution and Netpage were granted their licenses at a ceremony presided over by Information Minister Nana Grey-Johnson at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nana Grey-Johnson said the process has engaged them for years, but having looked at all the possible angles and now conscious of what it can bring to The Gambia, he is quite satisfied.
“Not much to be said, take your licenses go to work, and The Gambia is served and I’m pleased to be here to execute exactly that on behalf of government, in recognition of the public and private partnership that this is all about,” he stated.
Lamin Camara, deputy permanent secretary at the ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, described the event as another milestone towards the development and realization of our telecommunications sector.
He recalled that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the private operators and government towards the establishment of a special proposed vehicle and pulling up of resources towards financing the sub-marine cable system, which is in operation now through the support of the World Bank.
According to him, they moved on to sign a consortium agreement which culminated in the incorporation of The Gambia sub-marine cable company, of which they are members and license for the sub-marine cable was also issued, adding that the next step was to liberalise the gateway.
Noting that there were challenges with that, Camara thanked God for at least having taken a step closer through the award of data gateway to all private GSM companies and the public sector members.
‘We hope these achievements we made will be further strengthened towards the total liberalisation of the gateway, which we all desired to achieve. This is significant progress in the sense that gateways, when they are liberalised in other countries, at times there are grace periods that are given, but at least a grace period is not given here, and we are going ahead with giving the data gateway, and hopefully very soon the voice gateway will also follow,” he stated.
While describing it as a collective achievement as they all move towards a common goal of developing the country, DPS Camara said it is very true that the ICT sector can do a lot, which can be attested to and create significant change to the economic and social fabric of this country.
Abdoulie Jobe, Director General of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) described the day as one of celebration for the country’s telecommunications ICT sector.
Papa Yusupha Njie, CEO of Unique Solutions, in receiving the licenses said to be part of the race, you need to be in the team seat and for many years the private sector have not been in the race; but through this public-private partnership, government thought it wise to partner with the private sector to be given an opportunity to play their part in this laudable initiative.
Other speakers included Amer Atwi, managing director of Comium.