Ugandan Government Backtracks on Earlier Order on Mobile Charges
Kibaki went crazy sometime last week and issued an order which basically takes the country to some dark ages of roadside declarations which are not informed by any sense. It was a shock that when Kenyans wanted price controls over basic commodities, it is Kibaki who refuse to accent to a bill which was dully passed in parliament arguing that the market has its own forces. The same President played to the tune of two mobile phone operators and basically tied a rope on the neck of the Kenyan cellphone users giving very pedestrian reason why he had to issue the decree he issued.
Enough of the Kibaki rantings! Uganda also did the same thing on Monday. Mobile termination rate in Uganda is now at Ush 131 and it is expected to drop further. So the government through Uganda Communication Commission issued a directive which basically stated that no operator was going to charge a fee of less than Ush 91 per minute.
Uganda’s Daily Monitor wrote;
UCC said the decision was reached following a consultation process involving relevant stakeholders from the communications industry in the country. The guidelines will be effective as soon as they are gazetted.
“The guidelines, which takes cognizance of recent trends in the voice market, is aimed at promoting fair, efficient and competitive market conduct in the telecommunications sector,” UCC announced.
Although the announcement states that the guidelines may be amended at anytime deemed necessary by the commission or at the request of the industry players, the news has been received with apprehension in some sectors.
Yesterday, some operators told this newspaper that the decision and timing of the announcement was suspect. Others said the new regulations are an affront on legitimate business competition.
Airtel Uganda’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Kanyamunyu, said his company was studying the new guidelines.
Then just when we thought it was serious, the government has disowned the earlier statement and now says that it never issued such a directive. Read again from the Daily Monitor;
The Uganda Communications Commission has withdrawn a declaration it made last week in respect of new charges it has adopted for voice telephony services in Uganda.
At a press conference this Tuesday, Mr David Ogong, the director, competition and corporate affairs said; “UCC had not issued a directive to telecommunication operators in form of retail tariff guidelines as reported in the press.” “The commission is concluding the process of consultation with industry players and other stakeholders,” he said at the press conference in Kampala. The process started in January this year.
But in a public notice issued by the same Commission on page 20 of the New Vision newspaper on Friday, it indicated that the consultation process had come to an end and new rules and tariffs would apply to the telecommunications industry.
“Following a consultation process involving relevant stakeholders from the communications industry, the UCC hereby announces the new tariff guidelines for retail voice telephony services in Uganda,” the notice reads in part.
We hope that Kibaki is reading and he should stop these useless decrees which serves nobody but few in the government.