CRAN could soon join the bulging queue of bankrupt SOEs: Simataa

Minister of Information Communication and Technology (MICT), Stanley Simataa has said that Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) could soon join bulging queue of bankrupt, State-Owned Enterprises as the entity is forced to dig into its reserves to compensate for the shortfall in revenue to sustain its operations.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Simataa stated that as it stands the entity's reserves are about to be exhausted and CRAN and the MICT would like to avoid possible bankruptcy of entity at all cost.

In 2012, CRAN imposed regulatory levy to of 1.5 per cent on the annual turnovers of providers of communications services in terms of the levy regulations.

Given the fact that CRAN heavily relies on regulatory levies to fund its operations. In total, the two operators, Telecom Namibia and MTC who were a party of the court's case owe CRAN a combined amount of N.dollars 220 442 528 in Regulatory Levies, excluding interest and Penalties. This is a massive gap as the outstanding levies constitute 65 per cent of CRAN's revenue, he said.

Simataa added that consequently, CRAN had to take a painful decision notably forgo the acquisition of regulatory infrastructure which included the construction of spectrum monitoring towers, acquisition of necessary monitoring equipment and tools to monitor and enforce compliance with Spectrum licensing regulations.

CRAN also forgo monitoring equipment to ensure quality services and recruitments and retention of key personnel with requisite skills in ICT Policy, Regulation and Management.

Over the last five years CRAN was forced to cut its operational budget an act, which although necessary under the circumstances gravely impaired the attainment of some key strategic objectives, said Simataa.

Furthermore, due to the court ruling, CRAN to date has been unable to set up the Universal Service. This inhibited their ability to operationalise the Universal Service and Access Fund. This Fund would have provided the capacity to CRAN by extension government to accelerate connectivity to unserviced and underserviced areas, Simataa said.

He added that the delay in setting up Universal Services, therefore, means that perpetuation of the existing digital divide between rural and urban areas and continuation of the attendant to urban migration.

Source: Namibia Press Agency