ECOWAS Parliament wants member-states to provide incentives to fledging mobile network operators and service providers, encouraging them to provide consumers with high-quality and affordable roaming services
The Joint Committee on Telecommunications and Information Technology/Education, Science and Culture/Trade Customs and Free Movement of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has recommended ways to achieve seamless roaming within the region.
The recommendations formed the outcome of a five-day delocalised committee meeting held in Niamey, Republic of Niger. Reading the recommendation on behalf of the Committee, Hon. Vilane Abdoulaye, called on the ECOWAS Parliament to partner with the ECOWAS Commission for urgent implementation of the telecommunications and information technology policies and programmes.
The Committee also tasked the ECOWAS Parliament and ECOWAS Commission to ensure support from the highest authorities at the national level (Presidents and Prime Ministers) for effective implementation of the regulation for the benefit of ECOWAS citizens.
Amongst other recommendations, the Committee also urged the ECOWAS Parliament and ECOWAS Commission to ensure that National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs) utilise their powers within the limits of applicable law and regulations to compel the mobile operators to comply with all provisions of the regulation. The parliamentarians also added that it would be envisaged for operators that refuse to comply accordingly.
The Committee further recommended that member states ensure a regulator is in place to ensure proper regulation of MNOs and SPs in the provision of high-quality and affordable roaming services to consumers.
It also stressed that set standards must be adhered to by all. The Committee further recommended that member states provide incentives to fledging mobile network operators and service providers to encourage them to provide consumers with high-quality and affordable roaming services.
“This could involve encouraging new entrants into the market, promoting market liberalisation and deregulation, and removing barriers to entry for new players,” the Committee stated.
Similarly, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis, charged Members of the ECOWAS Parliament and all relevant stakeholders to remain committed to the cause of ensuring seamless roaming within the sub-region.
Speaking during the Closing Ceremony of the ECOWAS Parliament Joint Committee on Telecommunications and Information Technology/Education, Science and Culture/Trade Customs and Free Movement Meeting, Tunis said a win in this sphere will facilitate the reality of implementing the Protocol on Free Movement of People, goods and services. He noted that this would enhance the citizens’ active participation in the overall regional economic activities.
Tunis, who was represented by the Fourth Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Adja Satu Camara Pinto, also said though daunting, the task to the people is simple.
“We must continue to find, create, and consolidate on every means and opportunity to bring the above stated to fruition. Once again, I implore you to continue to work towards making the sub-region progressive for the betterment of the lives of its citizens,” Pinto said.