Good progress being made in telecoms reform - Hinds

Stabroek News
February 22, 2001

The telecommunications sector reform strategy has not yet been completed, but Prime Minister Sam Hinds feels that good progress is being made. William Garrison, senior telecommunications adviser to the government, is tasked with coming up with the reform strategy.

Stabroek News understands that several drafts and revised versions have been submitted.

"We are making good progress on our projection of reform and modernising telecommunications in Guyana," Hinds said.

He said that the government will be on target to having an open telecommunications sector by 2002. "If we are off schedule now, we will rearrange and reschedule our critical path to get there and I am quite pleased with the progress so far," Hinds said.

He would not say if the process of consultation will be pushed back to after general elections due in less than a month. He said Garrison will be back in four to six weeks. Garrison will have to be present at the forum of consultation with the government as it attempts to bring all of the stakeholders on board in the reform process.

The government in August signed a US$1.1 million technical cooperation agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank to reform the telecommunications sector in Guyana. The project is expected to realise competition in the sector in two years, allow for a transparent and non discriminatory policy, see three cellular services in operation and have a modernised legal and regulatory framework.

The first part of the project is to have the reform strategy in place and then to reform the regulation/legislation.The second component will see the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Ltd's (GT&T) licence and agreement revisited. The other components cover a network cost model and audit of GT&T's operation, outreach training and technical support for the Public Utilities Commission.

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