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Senate starts debate on Telecommunications Bill

Senators following proceedings in a past seating. File Photo: Goobjoog News

Telecommunications minister Abdi Hassan Anshur today tabled the Telecommunications Bill in the Senate for its first reading.

The bill, approved by the Lower House last week will be debated by the Senate and will either endorse it as it is or introduce amends. Engineer Anshur called on the Senate to approve the bill which he noted was one of the most crucial pieces of legislation for the country’s economic growth.

The bill establishes the National Communications Authority which will be tasked with regulating the telecommunications sector in the country. The government is banking on the bill to boost its domestic revenue to fund the national budget.

Finance Minister Abdirahman Beyle said in his first national budget last month the passage of the bill would see the government get up to $100 million annually in revenue from the telecommunications sector. Currently, the government earns $5 million in negotiated tax from telcos in the country.

Meanwhile the Senate also deliberated on the ongoing political crisis in HirShabelle which is running into a week following the ouster of the state president Abdullahi Osoble in a no confidence motion. Osoble has since dismissed the vote and maintained he is still charge.

Internal Minister Abdi Farah Juha, his security counterpart Abukar Islamo and Education Minister Abdirahma Dahir Osman traveled to the capital Jowhar today to intervene on the matter. The Senate formed a 24 member committee which is expected to report back in 24 hours on the developments in HirShabelle.