Liberia: President Weah Submits Bill Seeking to Amend Portions of 2007 Telecommunications Act

Monrovia — President George Weah has submitted before the House of Representatives, a bill seeking the amendment of certain provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 2007 to ensure smooth operations and management of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC).

The bill is seeking to among other things, change the title given to the head of LTC from Managing Director to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and to create the position of Chief Operating Officer as the principal deputy to the CEO, and as well expand their responsibilities.

In his communication accompanying the bill, President Weah acknowledged that the Telecommunications Sector has undergone many reforms including the restructuring of the Telecommunications Act to conform to the growing possibilities within the ICT sector.

Asking the House for its kind and timely consideration to enact the law, he said, "This will ensure a structural compliance allowing the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation to be reposition in a manner that will bring more services and benefits to the people, while reducing structural bureaucracies which hinder the functions and smooth running of the Corporation."

The Bill is titled, "An Act to Amend Schedule "A", Section 3, Subsection (F & G) of the Telecommunications Act of 2007 Thereby Establishing a Framework for the Smooth Operations and Management of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation".

Schedule "A" Section 3, Subsection (F), in its current form states, "The management of the Corporation including the responsibility of implementing Board Policies and directions shall be conducted by a Managing Director to be appointed by resolution of the Board of Directors. So long as the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation is majority owned by the Government, appointment of the Managing Director shall require confirmation by the President of Liberia. The Managing Director shall receive such salary and other compensation and benefits as shall be established by the Board of Directors."

When amended, it will be read as follows:

"The management of the Corporation including responsibility of implementing Board Policies and directions, shall be conducted by a Chief Executive Officer who shall be the head of the Corporation, and assisted by a Chief Operating Officer who shall serve as the principal deputy to the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Operating Officer shall be appointed by resolution of the Board of Directors. So long as the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation is majority owned by the Government, appointment of the Managing Director shall require confirmation by the President of Liberia. The Managing Director shall receive such salary and other compensation and benefits as shall be established by the Board of Directors."

The CEO, among other things shall be the highest ranking officer in the Corporation and primary responsibilities, among other things include making major decisions that does not require policy of the Board of Directors, managing the overall operations and resources of the Corporation, acting as the main point of communication between the Board of Directors and Corporation's operations.

The bill was then forwarded to the Committees on Telecommunications and Judiciary for review and recommendations, with a mandate to report back to Plenary within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the submission of the bill by President happened as he is set to launch the rebranded Libtelco which will now be known as Liberia Telecommunications Corporation Mobile (LTC Mobile).

The launch will include the introduction of mobile GSM services by the Corporation and the President will make the first voice call on the new network (022).

According to the management of LTC Mobile which is owned by the Government, it is not the government's intention to take the existing service providers out of business but rather fill in the gaps and meet the needs of the Liberian people.

However, the management said it is President Weah's vision to make LTC a viable telecommunications company in the sub-region that can be compared to MTN which is owned by the South African government or Orange which is owned by the French government and Vodacom which is owned by the UK government.

The LTC management dispelled the misconception that the LTC mobile will be playing the role of a regulator and the same time a player since it is government owned.

The Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC) was established in 1973 as the sole fixed line telephone operator in Liberia. With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 2007, the Corporation was re-organized as LIBTELCO and designated as Liberia's national telecommunications operator. It has been operating a CDMA 2000 1X-EVDO network that provides affordable voice and data services in Liberia.

However, with its ascendancy, the Weah-led administration has set an ambitious plan to expand the scope and operations of the Corporation. In 2020, the 2007 Act was amended to ensure that the LTC provide full scale mobile network operations in Liberia.

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