August 13, 2013

Telecom Companies Want Law To Protect Infrustructure

Telecom Companies have asked Parliament to enact a law to protect Telecom infrastructure as National Security assets.

Mazen Mroue, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN made the request while appearing before the Information Communication and Technology during the discussion of the ICT Ministerial policy statement.

Mazen, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN said that the new legal framework should categorize ICT infrastructure as protected key economic infrastructure.

Mazen Mroue, the MTN Chief Executive Officer before the ICT committee
Mazen Mroue, the MTN Chief Executive Officer before the ICT committee

He told the committee that Uganda’s Telecom Industry faces a big challenge of vandalism and rampant theft, which at times leads to loss of lives. Mazen said ICT is critical and that the impact of vandalism does not only compromise the Security of the country but also denies the business segment access to a host of services that rely on ICT infrastructure.

Similar policies have been endorsed in other countries in the region. In 2011, the Kenyan Parliament enacted The Energy and Communications Law Act 2011 which Mazen said increased the penalties of those caught vandalizing ICT infrastructure to KShs 5million equivalent to UShs 25 million and a jail term of not less than 10 years from earlier penalties of KShs 100,000 fine and three years imprisonment.
Mazen noted that unless strict laws are put in place, the vandalism will continue since theft of fuel and cables at sites is a thriving business.

Paula Turyahikayo, the Rubabo county MP and Chairperson of the ICT committee said that his committee is passionate and keen about vandalism of infrastructures. He said they are considering putting in place a legal framework to secure ICT infrastructures as well as other infrastructures.

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