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07.03.2006 General News

Community information centres to be established

By GNA

Accra, March 07, GNA - The Deputy Minister of Communication, Dr B. Aggrey Ntim, on Tuesday told parliament that 72 community information centres equipped with information communication technologies (ICT) facilities has been built in all the regions.

He said the provision of affordable access to ICT services in under-served areas through the construction of community information centres was a programme being supported with HIPC funds made available to the Communications Ministry.

Dr Ntim was responding to a question asked on behalf of Mr Joseph Labik, member for Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo, who wanted to find out how far the Ministry had proceeded with its programme on community information centres in the districts to ensure that ICT services reached the people of Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo.

The Deputy Minister said there were such centres in 72 constituencies and it was the objective of the ministry to "reach out to the remaining 158 constituencies and Bunkpurugu and Yunyoo would definitely be included."

In response to another question, Dr Ntim said the telecommunications policy of the ministry has been developed as part of the national ICT for accelerated development.

"Our primary objective is to promote national penetration of universal telecommunications services to reach 25 per cent of the population by the year 2010, and provide connection to schools, medical clinics and government offices."

The Deputy Minister said the development of a competitive telecom regulatory environment was one of the specific targets set for last year and the National Communications Authority has conducted this function in a "transparent, open and non-discriminatory manner."

He said these in answer to a question from Miss Akua Dansua, NDC-North Dayi, who had asked what specific targets had been set up in the national telecommunications policy for implementation by July last year and whether any of these targets have been met.

Dr Ntim said one other target set was the separation of Ghana Telecom's Internet and mobile operations to avoid anti competitive cross subsidy.

He said this target has been complied with and Ghana Telecom's One Touch service has since been regi stered as a separate entity with separated accounting system.

He said the Ministry last year pursued the process of divesting public holdings in Ghana Telecom and Westel and this was still on course with outstanding disputes between Ghana Telecom and Telecom Malaysia and Westel resolved, thus paving the way for further divestiture. In response to another question on when telephone facilities would be extended to Dadieso in the Suaman Constituency, the Deputy Minister said a GSM service is planned by Ghana Telecom to be implemented by the end of this year at Dadieso.

He said Ghana telecom has also planned transmission through Kpeve and KASAPA is constructing sites at Asikuma, Ho and Amedzofe all in the Volta Region and they are expected to be in service by next month.

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