Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the floor, and to urge hon. Members of this august House to bring their support along for the passage of this Bill.
Indeed, as previous contributors have
said, the world is going through a very fast changing world, and it appears today, the world is being controlled by technology and electronics for that matter, and that is where as a nation we cannot afford the luxury of just sitting aloof and pretending that all is well, when things are not well.
Mr. Speaker, this particular Bill, I think has come at the appropriate Time, in that, we hear complaints here and there, we see people using all sorts of electronic communication gadgets and technologies, and yet the country that provides the spectrum or the environment for such things does not benefit in any way from it. And that is where I want to urge my hon. Colleagues to support this Bill.
The Bill seeks to empower the Authority to be able to now charge appropriate fees for licences and frequency authorization. Previously, it was being contested by some internet service providers. Some internet service providers argue that some service providers have more room to operate than them and therefore it certainly means that there is some kind of imbalance or inefficiency in the system.
Again, I think this Bill seeks to give the Authority the opportunity to impose penalties on people who go against the provisions of this Bill. I believe the more important thing is even the tribunal that has been suggested under this Bill. If anybody transgresses as it were any of the clauses under the Bill, we have this special tribunal to deal with that person.
I believe that in doing all these, we will be creating the proper framework or the legal framework and the right atmosphere and environment for people who have the ideas and the means to as it were help the country join the information highway to do so. Therefore, it will not be said that in his modern time, though Ghana is striving for investors and we seek to make ourselves
the gateway to West Africa, we still lack certain things as far as technology is concerned.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I
would want to urge my hon. Colleagues to support the Bill.
Minister for Energy (Mr. F. K.
Owusu-Adjapong): Mr. Speaker, just a small comment.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the report, on page 2, clauses 3-19, dealing with important matters of licence and frequency authorization.
Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, frequency is a national asset, and like all good national assets, you have always got to think about local content because it is out of the local content that you begin to grow your own nationals. I do not ordinarily expect Ghanaians at the moment, for instance, to be in a position to become a major player in the overall licence like when we were talking about Vodafone or any of those things. But there should be some sub licences which will encourage some of our daring entrepreneurs to begin to play a role, and this is possible.
And that is why I would wish that when we come to look at the Bill, we look at clause 29 which establishes an industrial forum, which will bring together stakeholders in the communications industry to deliberate on matters of interest for the progress of the industry to be expanded, to also consider the ability to create local content so that our people become beneficiaries in this good national asset.
Therefore, we should now be thinking, particularly with the Committee, to find out what sort of sub licences we may create which will be within the economic
management of our own people so that somewhere along the line we get local people partaking in this idea of modern day electronics.
Mr. Speaker, thank you.