MoPT Conducts Final Public Hearing on ICT Policy Draft

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Stakeholders at the opening session of the National ICT Policy validation.

Authorities of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MoPT) have conducted its final public hearing in the National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Draft Policy for 2017-2022.

The policy draft document will be sent to the cabinet for endorsement.

The consultation meeting was held on Monday, August 20, in the auditorium of the University of Liberia (UL), on Capitol Hill, to solicit views from citizens about the draft policy.

The meeting is a result of various stakeholders’ consultations in regional and national meetings as well as public consultations held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Gbarnga, Bong County, Tubmanburg, Bomi County and Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.

Deputy Post Affairs Minister for Technical Services, Prosper K. Brown, who proxied for Minister Cooper W. Kruah, said the draft policy focuses on core and emerging issues that are crucial for the ICT ecosystem of Liberia.

Brown added, “We are pleased to announce that the dark period in our sector’s history is gradually fading away as we set a clear vision for our sector through the revision of the National ICT Policy that will involve setting achievable goals and defining our future.”

He said that the ICT Policy of 2011 sought to provide direction to help make the sector more transparent and prioritize access to global communications.

Brown said the ministry is confronted with new challenges, with the need for a strategic plan that will facilitate the expansion of ICT infrastructure and support the social and economic development of the country.

He said that the policy document provides allowance for these emerging ICT priorities over the next five years following its commissioning by the cabinet.

Brown further acknowledged United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) for their coordinated support toward the development of the draft National ICT policy.

In a recommendation to the draft ICT policy, Mrs. Asatta G. Gborlee said the Act must ensure that adequate funding is provided for ICT initiatives for women, replication and up-scaling of positive innovation of pilot projects must be supported.

Mrs. Gborlee recommended the provision and allocation of full scholarship for women or women’s institutions involved in the promotion of ICT activities.

She said, “Endeavor to ensure that female ICT employees receive attractive wages and benefits from their places of work whether in the private and public sectors which will induce more females.”

The draft policy states that it seeks to support economic development through fully integrated information communications technologies that would ensure a total social inclusion for all Liberians.

The vision and mission aim to ensure the presence of resilient infrastructure that support expanded connectivity to attract investment and promote employment opportunities.

MoPT has key issues within the policy draft, among which is “to develop Liberia’s critical ICT infrastructure to open up the potential for wealth creation across the private sector generally and to empower its citizens, thereby helping to achieve the goal of becoming a middle income country by 2030,” the document stated.

Another key issue in the draft policy is to speed up Liberia’s use of ICTs, which currently lags behind its West African neighbors and others in the continent.

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