Monday 17th April 2023
Minsiter for Information and Communications Technology Hon. Timothy Masiu has initiated the process to review the National Information and Communication Technology Act 2009, adding, the Act, including the foundational policies for internet pricing require a comprehensive review.
He has instructed for the core technical working groups be established as soon as possible, to be jointly resourced and led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National ICT Authority (NICTA) and respective heads.
“Since the passing of the National ICT Act 14 years ago, the ICT Sector has transformed drastically and there is an urgent need to take into consideration sector developments including critical digital infrastructure, data governance, cyber security, fintech, artificial intelligence, digital skills and cloud technology,” Minsiter Masiu stated.
He added the telecommunications and broadcasting market and industry in the country has grown, and as such there is a need to review our approach and options for regulating spectrum management, market structure, internet governance, just to name a few.
“With respect to internet prices, within the last three years, I have consistently taken different approaches under the current legislation to commence inquiries and try to trigger reduction of both wholesale and retail prices, but with minimal results.”
“The Marape – Rosso government has prioritized economic growth through Special Economic Zones and our efforts can be seen with the passing of the Special Economic Zone legislation in 2019 and the forthcoming inaugural PNGSEZ Summit.”
He added that the recent amendment to the Investment Promotion Act 1992 and other related laws consolidates efforts to streamline the process and appetite for foreign direct investment while the 2023 National Budget has put emphasis on the SME sector.
“The onus is now on other economic and non – economic sectors to support these economic policies. My Ministry is focused and tracking the digital transformation agenda so that we are consistent,” he further said.
Minsiter Masiu added that the concern still remains that the governemnt is still operating under a National ICT Act 2009 that is fast becoming insensitive and unhelpful to the emerging policy issues that have accumulated over 14 years.
“Let us take stock and update the existing legal framework to give our economy and people a chance at growing the economy and brining in new investment opportunities and in the case of my Ministry, we are interested in growing the telecommunication sector and slashing internet prices so that our country and people can directly benefit from foreign direct investment and SME growth.”
Mr Masiu said the National ICT Act 2009 and the National ICT Policy 2008 and other related policies giving rise to the current Act , will now be comprehensively reviewed by the Technical Working Group within two months before options are given to government to further progress the sector.