17.05.2005 General News

Electronic legislation to be put before Parliament

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Accra, May 17, GNA - Mr Akwasi Afrifa, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, on Tuesday suggested the need for a law on electronic transactions to build security in the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for the development of e-commerce transaction.

He said the Ministry of Communications in conjunction with the Attorney-General's Department was currently engaged in consultation with stakeholders over the drafting of the bill. Mr Afrifa was delivering a statement in Parliament to mark World Telecommunications Day, which falls today, May 17. The MP said the day, provides " an opportunity to reflect on telecommunication development particularly with respect to the application of ICT".

The Chairman of the Committee said the Ministry had developed a new telecommunications policy to provide an enabling environment, which includes the establishment of the Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications.

He said it was necessary for the country to pass a telecommunications Act and review the National Communications Authority (NCA) Act in line with contemporary developments in technology and industry.

"Meanwhile, the construction of Community Information Centres by the Ministry of Communications is progressing steadily throughout the country and those already completed would be equipped and provided with connection for the use of the communities," he said.

He said the Ministry had an ICT package for the schools and a hire-purchase arrangement for students in the universities and workers. Mr Pelpuo Abdul-Rashid, NDC-Wa Central, said it was important to expand ICT facilities to the rural area because a well-informed society was crucial to national development.

Mr Mahama Ayariga, NDC-Bawku Central, called on the NCA to speed up the process of giving frequency for the establishment of community radios to keep the people informed about development in their communities.

Mr Isaac Asiamah, NPP-Atwima-Mponua, and Mrs Eugenia Kusi, NPP- Tarkwa-Nsuaem, both touched on the recent developments in the ICT sector, especially those bordering on fraud and pornography and called for urgent steps to check these negatives practices. Mr Charles Hodogbey, NDC-North Tongu, urged the Government to focus on the provision of telephone facilities for the rural areas and district capitals to help bring development closer to the people. Earlier, the Minority in Parliament had expressed their displeasure over the inability of the Finance Minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu or any of the sector deputy Ministers to turn up in Parliament to answer questions slated for the day.

Majority Leader, Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, explained that the Finance Minister was in Abuja on an official assignment.

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