The World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone, Perminder Brar has called for a reduction on tariffs of mobile services in the country ahead of Monday’s West Africa ICT report launching at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown.
Speaking to a crossing section of journalists at their Howe Street office on Thursday 17th March 2016, the World Bank Country head said the present charges on mobile services in the country are too high which, according to him, needs to be cut down.
He said in 2010 they signed an agreement with the government to move to competitive multiple gateway for ICT services owing to the fact that come April of this year Sierra Leone will be moving from ‘monopoly’ to ‘multiple gateway’ which will reduce the cost of mobile services including internet.
Mr. Brar said since the twenty-eight (Le28m) million dollars fibre cables project landed in the country to date expectations and changes needed to be effected on institutions for better ICT services in the country.
Giving an overall perspectives of the project, he maintained that World Bank is happy with the good commitment from government in promoting services of mobile and internet, pointing out that since the landing it has taken a ‘little’ for a roll-out, notwithstanding that lots of benefit is yet to be realised.
The World Bank Manager said despite the halts on installation and connections of the fibre cable by September (Six months time) they are expecting the system to be operational especially so when, according to him, Sierra Leone is doing a ‘lot better’ than Liberia in terms of fibre connectivity.
Mr. Brar disclosed that since he came to the country, about six months now, he informed government and NATCOM that the cost of mobile and internet services are very high and that there is need for cost on these services to be reduced. He said the cost on mobile phone services and internet in Sierra Leone are high and they need to come down while calling for drastic reduction in the cost of all incoming and outgoing calls in Sierra Leone in the next few months.
He however praised the government for announcing that effective 1 April, 2016 there would be a shift from monopoly to multiple gateways, which he said would see the reduction in the cost of mobile phone and internet services.
“I have said repeatedly that the cost of mobile services should come down. Since I came into Sierra Leone six months ago, the cost of mobile phone services and internet is too high,” he said.
He said President Ernest Bai Koroma had already announced that there would also be a drastic reduction in the cost of incoming calls to Sierra Leone as well as outgoing calls.