After occupying a small office for 20 years, the National Communications Authority (NCA), has gotten for itself, a new head office, following a sod-cutting ceremony by the president, John Dramani Mahama, about four years ago.
The Minister for Communication, Dr Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, who acted on behalf of the president, inaugurated the new head office yesterday in Accra with a lot of commendation from government. The new edifice, will serve as the regulatory house for telecommunication and broadcasting.
According to a speech read on behalf of the president, government, was satisfied with the regulator which started as a Frequency Control Board to its current status as the nation’s telecommunications regulator.
The president said, his government was determined to assist the NCA in all it programmes, as it plays it role as a very important component in development.
He said, “Government is so far satisfied with NCA’s role as a very vital component in the engine of national development and is prepared to assist the Authority in its endeavours. We shall support you every step of the way”.
President Mahama, who associated himself with the regulator, recalled how he served as first chairman of the Board of the Directors of the NCA, describing it as one of the vital state institutions.
“That is why as the first chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Communications Authority, I am emboldened to say that these policy achievements have become a reality, because the NCA has consistently and successfully created a regulatory mechanism that enabled the liberalisation of the incumbent national network operator.
Thereafter conscious efforts were made at creating a duopoly by licensing a second national network operator WESTEL, with similar rights and privileges as GT and also with exclusivity for voice telephony and international gateway.
A third network operator -Capital Telecom- was subsequently franchised to improve communications services in the rural parts of southern Ghana. Complete deregulation of telecom services was engendered by the licensing of mobile cellular operators to provide mobile services resulting in increased competition”, he narrated
He tasked the NCA, to see the successful completion and occupation of the edifice which was completed on scheduled as opportunity to determine how to focus on its objectives and not be sidetracked by interests that will not at the end of it all augur well for the industry which is fast growing.
President Mahama, said it was right that the NCA works with industry players, so they can grow their businesses and also serve the country better
for all Ghanaians. Work with industry to serve the citizenry, grow their businesses and serve our dear nation Ghana.
He commended the Board, led by Mr Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, Management and staff of the Authority, “for your hard work and unwavering faith in discharging your duties”.
Since 2009, the Ministry of Communications according to the president, has implemented in record time, policies that have copiously transformed the face of telecommunications in the country. The NCA ably facilitated these interventions.
“Fortunately for us, Ghana has been recognized as front runners of the ICT revolution and on record as one of the first countries in Africa to introduce widespread liberalisation in basic telecommunications services.
This modest achievement, captained by the NCA, has endeared the country to all forward looking nations around the world culminating in our election onto major decision making groups of the ITU over the years”, the president said.
He noted that the NCA is rising to the challenge of the industry by enforcing a competitive market to generate growth and innovation.
“As I indicated recently during the inauguration of the Accra Digital Centre which seeks to provide 10,000 jobs for the youth through Business Process Outsourcing Services, Telecoms reforms in Ghana started with the passage of the 5-year Telecommunications Policy for Accelerated Development, the ADP 2000”, he said.
For the past few years, president Mahama said his administration has approved in cabinet, a number of progressive policies, which seek to expand the frontiers of the gains made so far.
These policies were to ensure the issuance of licenses for the implementation of International Wholesale Carriers, the Interconnect Clearing House, the Unified telecom and the operations of Mobile Virtual Network Operators.
“I am happy to note that these policies are being implemented and are also ensuring greater participation of Ghanaians in the telecommunication sector.
The full benefits of these forward looking policies will be realised in the coming years and we believe just as others came and still come to learn from Ghana, they will become positive case studies in the near future”, he said.
He urged NCA to continue to dialogue with industry in an open and frank manner without prejudice even as government rollout more policies such as the domestic roaming and rural telephony, to give meaning to the essence of universal access to telecommunication services.
He hoped that through these, the enormous effect of the digital divide will be bridged and challenges resulting from telecommunication/ICT development will be well managed.
The president congratulated all the people, who made the building of the edifice possible- the previous Board, Chaired by Mr Kofi Totobi Quakyi, that began the project, the current Board, management, staff, the engineers, masons, steel benders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and the labourers that raised this beautiful edifice. I am happy to note that through such public works alone, over 400,000 jobs have been generated over the past few years.