NATCOM Boss Clocks 6 Months

Director General of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Daniel Bobson Kaitibi, six months into his leadership of the Commission has extended thanks and appreciation to board, management and staff for the tremendous support that they have provided the Deputy Director-General and him exactly six months since their joint appointments by His Excellency President Bio.

DG Kaitibi also took the opportunity to update the media and the public on what they have achieved so far as a Commission.

He acknowledged that the achievements they have recorded during this short and challenging period would certainly not have been made possible without support.

“We truly recognize your support and appreciate you as a ‘Great Team’. The reports I have read from the respective Departments show deep commitment and enthusiasm, and they give me the confidence that we shall succeed. This is the essence of our collective success – achievements that no skeptic can take away from us as we found our feet,” he said.

He expressed awareness of the momentous times that NATCOM is traversing, which, he said, demands that they regularly account to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Information and Communications, and the Board of Commissioners about the work entrusted to them by His Excellency.

Six months since they were both appointed to serve as NATCOM Director-General and Deputy Director-General, Mr. Kaitibi said that on assumption of office on 26th March 2020, the following were the priority areas they initially focused on:

Partner with the Ministry and Board to ensure the containment of COVID-19 nation-wide and at NATCOM; enactment of the Electronic Communications Act which would eventually see the transformation of NATCOM into an Authority; conduct a Cost Study to set tariffs for interconnection and other telecommunications services; procure Cyber Security and Fraud prevention Equipment; install Fixed Spectrum monitoring equipment and handheld tools; secure funding for the completion of the NATCOM Building up at South Ridge.

He reported that in collaboration with the MIC, considerable efforts have been made in respect of the first two and sixth priorities, adding that on behalf of Management and Staff of the Commission, he wished to say many thanks to the MIC and the Board for providing the Leadership required in recording these feats.

With the Cost Study, he stated that he was delighted to announce that the ITU is currently exploring options for supporting the establishment of a cost methodology and models for interconnection and telecommunication services for Sierra Leone and to work with NATCOM in securing the necessary funding for this to happen. “This can only be great news for NATCOM!” He said.  

Cyber Security and Fraud Management remain a core aspect of their key priorities as a Commission and said he was confident to report that they have made provision for the procurement of this equipment in the just-concluded FY2021 Budget. Whilst it may not be enough, he said they would continue to partner with their international partners to secure funding in this regard.

The DDG and himself have made a deliberate decision to ensure the welfare of employees is treated with utmost priority and nothing changes this on the basis that because of their support they have made this much success in a record time of six months since their appointments, and that they must not forget that.

He said they have engaged all the Directors in the different Directorates and made it clear how important it is to work as a team and be inclusive. This he said does not subtract from the fact that there may be differences in opinion and that they should not be fearful of the obvious consequence: that there are bound to be differences of emphasis and approach on a variety of matters.

“What is crucial, however, is that we have forged an enduring unity across the Commission, which brings us together as the overriding commitment to a joint effort in the growth of the Commission and improves our well-being,” he said.

In six months of our leadership, he stated that a few remarkable achievements were also recorded, and at the end of the day, the yardstick that they shall all be judged by is one and one only: and that is, are they, through our endeavors at NATCOM, creating the basis to better the lives of our consumers!

However, he stated that they do not claim to have all the answers and are confident that this balanced approach, based on stakeholder engagements and drawing on the positive experiences of other Regulators, NATCOM can help resolve these issues in a manner that benefits the country as a whole. “We are on course!” he said.

Additionally, he said he has engaged the Director responsible for Corporate & Industry Affairs to make adequate plans to ensure they have a robust consumer perception survey in the first quarter of next year on the quality of service delivered by Mobile Network Operators, collect information on the understanding of the functions of the Commission and its benefits to end-users, create awareness of the Commission’s roles in the socio-economic development of the country, strengthen the capacity and capability of regional staff members for the enforcement of the regulatory mandate of the Commission, among others.

As they await the final budget for FY2021, he said he knows there are exciting times ahead and NATCOM provides a unique space to work in but would also urge all to tread cautiously in ensuring they meet their financial obligations as a responsible Commission.

“The DDG and I would continue to rely on our Directors to provide the requisite leadership to employees and report to us accordingly.” He said.

He stressed that once again, the DDG and him would use the opportunity of their half-year anniversary to extend thanks and appreciation to their fantastic employees who have been supportive of the key priorities they set out since their respective appointments.

“As HE President Bio correctly stated in his acceptance speech of the COI’s White Paper Report,” he pointed out, “when one is appointed to serve, ‘one must do so with honesty, fairness, justice, diligence, and compassion’. It is on this principle that we would continue to serve to ensure a commitment to our shared values. This, we demand of all of you as we forge ahead.”