Telecommunications viability and data affordability under the spotlight

By Kenias Chivuzhe

THE stakeholder engagement in the telecommunications sector ended in Vumba this Wednesday, with parliamentarians pledging to engage the public on the accessibility and affordability of mobile data.

The two-day stakeholder conference for the telecommunications sector held in Vumba ended with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT, Postal and Courier Services revealing that it will engage the public for their input on the viability of the telecommunications sector and affordability of mobile data.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT, Postal and Courier Services, Honourable Peter Moyo noted that internet access is a public necessity and an enabler for all fundamental rights.

“Whilst acknowledging the built-up costs as ably demonstrated by the operators and POTRAZ, there is a need to be mindful of the economic environment to make data affordable,” said Honourable Moyo.

“There is a need to strike a balance between business and the need to allow for the enjoyment of human rights. To that effect, the committee of ICT and Courier Services must expeditiously conduct public consultations in different areas on data costs as part of the inquiry into the cost of data and the petition submitted to parliament by MISA Zimbabwe.

“We will then come up with a report, with our findings, observations and recommendations on these issues. The report will be presented before the August house. Respective ministries, government agencies and the telecommunication sector will then be mandated to implement the recommendations.”

The portfolio committee also pledged to engage the Ministries of Finance, ICT and Local government to improve internet access across the country.