Friday, August 07, 2009

Govt to limit licenses required for ICT sector

Govt to limit licenses required for ICT sector
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, August 07, 2009 2:45:04 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said the governmentwill minimise the number of licences required for the communications sector in a bid to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

In a speech read on his behalf by communications minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa at the official opening of the Zain Zambia head office at Zain House yesterday, President Banda said the Information and Communications Technology Bills under discussion by Parliament would provide for the streamlining of a licensing regime.

“Already, Parliament is discussing the Information and Communication Technologies Bill, Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill as well as the Postal Services Bill...Further, the number of licenses will be minimised in line with government’s policy of reducing the cost of doing business as envisaged in the Business Licensing Reform Programme,” he said.

President Banda observed that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector had withstood the impact of the prevailing global economic crisis.

He said this was as a result of measures instituted, but cautioned Zain Zambia management against undertaking cost saving measures that would work against employees.

“In this time of the global crisis, I am comforted by the fact that the ICT sector has remained resilient to the financial shocks such that the sector has maintained the service of employment levels,” President Banda said. “However, I am concerned that while we are still on the recovery path, there is a tendency to take cost cutting measures that may affect employees in the sector.”

President Banda further observed that private sector participation was vital in the growth of the sector in particular, and the country’s economy as a whole.

“Let me also recognise the investment made by the private sector in contributing to the treasury through tax and non tax contributions. These are some of the benefits that government can realise from increased investment in the country,” said President Banda.

Zain Zambia managing director David Holliday said the company would continue to invest in Zambia for as long as the investment policies remained conducive.

And Farmers House chairperson Timothy Mushibwe said his organisation would uphold infrastructure development as a means of enhanced economic growth.

The Zain House is a Farmers House venture undertaken at a cost of US $8 million and has been leased to Zain Zambia.

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