Mr. Brar said since the twenty-eight (Le28m) million dollars fibre cables project landed in the country to date expectations and changes needed to be effected on institutions for better ICT services in the country.
Giving an overall perspectives of the project, he maintained that World Bank is happy with the good commitment from government in promoting services of mobile and internet, pointing out that since the landing it has taken a ‘little’ for a roll-out, notwithstanding that lots of benefit is yet to be realised.
The World Bank Manager said despite the halts on installation and connections of the fibre cable by September (Six months time) they are expecting the system to be operational especially so when, according to him, Sierra Leone is doing a ‘lot better’ than Liberia in terms of fibre connectivity.
Mr. Brar disclosed that since he came to the country, about six months now, he informed government and NATCOM that the cost of mobile and internet services are very high and that there is need for cost on these services to be reduced. He said the cost on mobile phone services and internet in Sierra Leone are high and they need to come down while calling for drastic reduction in the cost of all incoming and outgoing calls in Sierra Leone in the next few months.
Speaking on the relevance of next week launching of World Bank reports on West Africa ICT to be host in Sierra Leone, the manager said the conference is an opportunity for members of the public to interact with the Ministry of Communication and NATCOM to know how much progress has been made on the fiber project.
He said the report which focuses on three thematic areas of ‘Growth, Job and Services’ shows that it is not enough just to introduce internet but also how government can introduce lower prices, pointing out that if change doesn’t effect in institutions that will be benefiting from the internet, then the benefit wont reach the people. He suggested that “You can make phones available but if the institutions for good governance are not in place then the effect of the internet will be much less than it could be.”
On the impact to the country, he said “What this report will do is to give Sierra Leoneans global perspective not only limited to Sierra Leone or West Africa or Africa, it will give an overall perspective of what people do using the internet across the world.” He said Sierra Leone can derive so far as growth is concern, so far as jobs are concern and so far as service delivery is concerned which are the key things that affects the lives of the people.