Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sudanese govt to build international gateway

The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has announced its readiness to commence the process of building an International Gateway code named (SSIGW).

This, GOSS said would enable it to make more rapid advances in e-Government as well as other e-applications critical to its development and governance goals, including tele-medicine and e-education.

Disclosing this at the just ended sixth annual Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) forum tagged CTO-ICT Summit, which held at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the Southern Sudan Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Major General Gier Chuang Aluong, noted that additional operators were licensed by GoSS between 2006 and 2008, with Gemtel already putting infranstructure in place and is due to start commercial operation before end of year.

Also, a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are operational and so are several post offices, even as postal stamps to facilitate mail delivery would soon commence.

According to him, there has been an installation of 40 Codan High Frequency (HF) radios at post offices, which is ongoing with three recently completed.

“With the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) signed with the Government of the National Unity (GNU) and neighbouring countries, these advances lay the foundation for more accomplishments in the coming period,” he said.

In the next one year, he said, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services is developing a master plan through a consultative process focused on both the different line ministries and the multiple tiers of government, along with civil society and the private sector.

He explained that within the master plan, the development and roll-out of a regulatory mechanism would be extremely important as will the implementation and coordination mechanisms.

“The master plan will guide legislative and regulatory reforms centered not only on the provision of basic telephone services, but also on evolving an e-Government strategy and a Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF) strategy,” he declared.
In effect, Major General Aluong stressed that the master plan would be a way to integrate all of the GoSS planning instruments.

Some of the proposed quick-win projects, he said, include e-Parliament, securing and backing-up the gateway, linking operators to SSIGW, incubator establishment and pilot e-Applications.

“Accelerated human resource development, including an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training institution, will be critically important for success in these and other areas,” he said.

As said by him, other key priority areas include resource-sharing and e-security regime, pilot tele-centers in states, electronic money transfer, automation of Post Offices and introducing International Postal Services (IPS).

Emphasizing that in terms of policy management, the key regulations needed relate to interconnection, frequency management, number planning, tariff administration, competition and consumer protection, as well as enabling e-Legislation such as cyber-laws, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Right To Information (RTI) among others.

“In order for GoSS to live up to the lofty vision set by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA) SPLM/SPLA to take towns to people, we are fortunate to have strong relations with countries in the region and across Africa and indeed globally, who have already accomplished much in the applications of ICT to meet challenges of governance and development. So rather than reinvent the wheel, the GoSS Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services will rely on these relationships as it meets similar challenges within the new Sudan,” he submitted.

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