New ICT Policy for Liberia
The Liberian cabinet has endorsed a comprehensive Telecommunication and Information Communications Technology or ICT policy detailing the administration’s commitment to improving the governance structures through the deployment of electronic services in ministries and agencies to enhance efficiency.
The document, referred to as the “National ICT Policy” ,was developed through a consultative process involving several stakeholders. It is intended to ensure that services and system are people-centered, universally accessible and cost-effective. The policy calls for the establishment of a national ICT governing board to oversee, monitor and evaluate ICT projects and programs in Liberia.
The composition of the board will be the President of the Republic of Liberia as national chairman, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications National vice chairman, while the Information, Planning, Internal Affairs Ministries and Liberia Chamber of commerce, as well as the Liberia Telecommunications Authority will serve as members.
Public institutions , including ministries, agencies and academic institutions are required under the policy to support the national ICT governing board by serving as local ICT champions in their various institutions to help in transforming Liberia into an ICT nation.
Speaking at a news conference, on Monday June 20, 2011, rhe Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr. Fredrick Norkeh said the ICT secretariat will be established to lead the process of interpreting the government’s ICT vision. He said the membership will include all ministries and public agencies that are also required under the policy to introduce ICT units and designate their own chief ICT officers.
The Minister noted that the National ICT policy will also support the establishment a universal access funds (UAF) to support the deployment and installation of telecommunications and ICT networks in counties and regions where there are limited or no ICT services.
According to him, funding for the UAF will come from the Government of Liberia annual allotment, telecommunications and ICT service providers, domestic and international organizations.
“To effectively monitor the implementation of the universal Access program of the country, the Ministry of posts and Telecommunications will establish a universal Access governing board comprising five (5) members to include the Liberia Telecommunications Authority as secretary, Ministry of internal Affairs responsible for county development projects, sector representatives, Liberia chambers of commerce and the Ministry of posts and Telecommunications as Chairman,” he noted.
The installation of telecommunication networks in designated universal access communities shall be delegated to an implementation committee headed by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority and consist of all mobile service providers and national operators.
Minister Norkeh explained that the committee will identify communities for the installation of telecommunications networks, provide technical information and make recommendations to the governing board. The policy also recognizes the important role of the Liberia telecommunications corporation as the national operator in the implementation process of the ICT policy and waives all licensing fees.
It reemphasizes the need for the enhancement of the ICT sector with the deployment of broadband technology with optic networks through the Africa coast to Europe projects. It also supports the implementation of a new national numbering plan and registration of all SIM cards in the country to enhance national security.