Ishmael Mohamed Kebbay Jnr. was appointed Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited in August 2018 by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to transform the company.
Under his leadership and that of the Chairman Board of Directors Sorie Fofana, the business recruited a team of professionals together to drive forward transformation in the institution.
This drive was able to earn the business a gross year end closing profit of 13 Billion Leones, and a net profit of 10 Billion Leones, netting off the inherited loss of 3.8 Billion Leones.
Speaking in an interview, Ishmael Kebbay said they have re-calibrated the business model to offer a value proposition that reduced the prices of wholesale data by 48%, increased data utilization/uptake by 100% from a monthly average of 8G to 16G, and increased monthly revenue by 32%.
“We inherited a network that was in a terrible shape of design. The challenges included no spares to support service recovery in the event of a downtime, no national and international redundancy –the entire country only had one circuit going up north Lisbon”, he added.
He said in less than six months, they deployed two international redundancies in Paris and Accra (added to Lisbon) that earned the business an uptime of 99.9999%. Mr. Kebbay pointed out that they have re-designed the terrestrial fibre network to help operators transport a large amount of data cheaper and faster.
“We’ve activated a fibre point of presence in 28 provincial cities and townships that helped operators like Qcell to roll out their network at the back of the fibre backbone. We are also migrating existing operators such as: Afcom, Orange, and Onlime to the terrestrial fibre”
“There was not cost discipline by the previous administration of SALCAB; the cost-income ratio was negative 20% which means, the previous administration was spending more than revenue generated.
“We have reduced operating expense by 37% through strategic cost savings initiatives; attracted the right skill set that gave us the leverage to terminate a contract agreement with an International Commercial Consultancy Firm, which saved the business over USD 41,000 monthly.
“We’ve renegotiated the cost of international IP Transit from a whooping wholesale price of USD 38,000 to USD 4,700 with full redundant content without compromising quality.”
The Managing Director further informed that they’ve strengthened control of their operational environment which has subsequently eliminated other micro operating costs.
He said they have recently launched the SALCAB Tech Start-up Challenge with the aim of supporting the start-up ecosystem in Sierra Leone, foster innovation and sell the human capital of the country.
MD Kebbay also added the launch of the School Connectivity project as a support to the President’s flagship Free Quality Education program. The School Connectivity Project, he noted, will be connecting 500 schools and 16 public Libraries by the end of the year.
He said computers will be provided for 100 of the schools with a school management system to make all administrative work easy. Mr. Kebbay said the project will also connect 1000 schools and all public health centers in all districts by 2023.
Mr. Kebbay assured the public of doing more to develop the sector. He thanked President Bio for the appointment. He also thanked the Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Rahman Swarray for his support to his office.