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‘Info. Ministry has raised more revenue for gov’t’

- says Deputy Minister

May 8, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Theo Nicol, Wednesday told members of the Information and Communications Committee in Parliament that his ministry has contributed more revenue to the consolidated fund than any other ministry.

“We are now number one in terms of contributing revenue to the coffers of government as billions of Leones are made as contribution by mobile companies in the country,” said Nicol, although he did not state the exact quantum of money the ministry has paid into the consolidated fund.

He said the ministry was currently working with internet service providers (ISPs) to have a faster and cheaper internet service across the country, and that the first phase of the fiber optic connection has completed at Gbalamuya in Kambia, on the border with Guinea, adding that by December this year all fiber optic connections would have been done for schools, universities, private homes and public-private institutions.

He stated that efforts were being put in place by the National Commission for Privatization to revamp the Sierra Leone Postal Services (SALPOST) and to bring the ailing parastatal under the ministry’s supervision.

The deputy minister opined that the new Independent Media Commission (IMC) commissioners were working assiduously to enforce strict regulations against ‘defaulting’ media houses.

He said the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) had been grappling with numerous challenges as there were issues with the Board of Trustees.

Earlier, chairman of the committee, Hon. Binneh Bangura, said they expected more dedication from service providers, investors and indigenous companies as they were concerned about development.

He said lawmakers had received numerous complaints from the public with regard to drop calls by mobile companies, poor photographs by SLBC/TV, poor internet service, etc, and urged the minister to do more as their best was not satisfactory to the public.

On his part, Hon. Hassan Sesay said that since the telecommunications gateway liberalization had been terminated much was expected from the ministry in terms of oversight as the country had been losing huge amount of money, adding that citizens needed increased information on what obtains in the sector.