NATCOM raises US$1.5 million in Sierra-Leone

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Sierra Leone's National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has raised close to US$1.5 (five billion leones) to beef up its work.

According to the outgoing chairman of NATCOM, Kanji Daramy, his commission will leave behind a healthy regulator with modern buildings, computers, vehicles, generators, office equipment and other assets. These he said, were accomplished in less than a year of the establishment of the regulatory body by the past regime.

The new boss of the commission will also inherit a well-structured organization with five fully-established departments to supervise administration, finance, technology, consumer interests and legal services.

It would be recalled that when the Government of Sierra Leone was badly in need of funds during the early part of the year NATCOM contributed an amount of Le 3 billion (three billion Leones) equivalent to one million dollars to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

During NATCOM's first year of operation the regulator became much more accountable and telecoms operators were for the first time brought under regulation, as opposed to the indiscriminate issuing of licenses which had prevailed, the proceeds of most of which were largely unaccounted for.

However, the country's national spectrum, said a senior official at NATCOM still requires some revisiting as certain operators continue to hold on to radio frequency channels or bandwidth far in excess of their needs and for which payments have still not been made; a situation inherited by NATCOM from the then Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Daramy also pointed out that transnational operators such as Multichoice Africa who operate DSTV services in the country have remained recalcitrant in their defiance of regulatory laws of Sierra Leone and until they comply, NATCOM will continue to face problems.