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Information Minister speaks on ICT in post-Ebola recovery

21 August 2015 at 09:25 | 1068 views

By Siraju Bah, Freetown.

The Minister of Information and Communication Hon. Alhaji Alpha BS Kanu has delivered a comprehensive lecture on ICT in Post Ebola Recovery in a Private Sector Resilience, Recovery and Resurgence workshop at the Sierra Lighthouse Hotel in Aberdeen on August 20, 2015.

In his presentation, the Minister emphasized the need for the private sector to tap into the infinite opportunities the ICT sector is providing noting that they would need to collaborate with government in order to leverage the opportunities in the critical ICT infrastructure government has already put in

He noted that government has laid the fibre optic cable making it easier for Internet service providers and telecom operators to grasp the opportunities in the magnetic spectrum saying that the fibre has been laid right through to Gbalamuya at the Guinea border and Gendema to the Liberia border.

"The fibre in Sierra Leone is like a cobweb as we have points of presence in all the districts of the country,” he informed his audience.

He however the effect of the fibre has still not reached the homes of the customers because the last mile has still not been accomplished for which he encouraged the private sectors to invest in. He further stated that if the private sector renege in building the last mile, government will endeavour to do so in order to meet the needs of its people.

The Minister further disclosed that government is selling one meg to the Internet Service Providers and Telecom operators for $88 while they in return, are selling it out to their customers for an inflated price of $ 1500 noting that if the last mile is built the cost will be reduce drastically and the use of the internet will improve tremendously.

"The solution is to get a last mile connected immediately,” he

Kanu said government has built the infrastructure and they are now waiting for the private sector to do their own bit, noting that before the end of the following week all MDAs will be connected to the fiber and the switch will be activated to enhance the use of e-governance and other relevant uses of ICT in government departments.

Honourable Alpha Kanu noted that to harness the numerous benefits on ICT, four stages will be taken into cognizance; one is infrastructure which the government has done by laying the fibre optic cable,two, regulation which has to provide the necessary regulatory mechanism to control the use of the internet in the country, and four, education which has to do with acquisition of ICT knowledge and application which leads to result.

Speaking on the impact of Ebola on the ICT Community and Post Ebola Recovery Programmes, the Chairman for the Internet Society (Sierra Leone Chapter) Dominic Lamin noted that the outbreak of Ebola has seriously impeded development in the ICT sector.

He however applauded the government for its continued efforts in providing leadership on the improvement of the sector and encouraged government to continue to provide opportunities for the ICT Community, saying that government should provide soft funds to support young talents to realize their dreams in the field of

Representing the Chairman of NATCOM the Acting Director General, Senesie Kallon noted that the Commission has been working to ensure that the sector is well regulated but has been faced with a lot of challenges that include regulating the social media, mobile money and the like but assured his audience that they are working hard to overcome some of these problems.

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