By Musa Kamara
The Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB) which since 2014 has been providing broadband internet connectivity to Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and has not received a single penny from such MDAs has therefore, through the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) called on MDAs to pay for such services consumed over the lengthy period.
Addressing a cross-section of MDA representatives at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building in Freetown, the Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray reminds such personalities that MIC oversees all works of SALCAB and all MDAs Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector and he went on to say that the New Direction Government led by President Bio has invested in such Broadband Connectivity with an E-Government Component close to the tune of $100 Million and therefore, he urged MDAs to pay for such services.
“We all have budgets that we do for our various MDAs with ICT Components in those budgets, but sadly enough nobody cares about paying the bills for the services render,” he maintained.
He emphasized on President Bio’s legacy which is inclusive of a digitalized Sierra Leone wherein citizens would have a fair playing ground in what he described as, “digital economy.”
The Honourable Minister disclosed that his Ministry in days to come would be engaging the Ministry of Finance in relation to the ICT Budgets, adding also that he would be presenting a “Cabinet Paper” to President Bio and colleague ministers on the challenges associated to collecting the huge sums of money owed SALCAB by MDAs.
In her presentation, Kumba L. Musa who is the Chief Commercial Officer for SALCAB outlined that SALCAB has been providing internet connectivity to 106 MDAs with 54% of overall business operations and maintenance cost to the E-Governance Network without receiving a penny in return from MDAs.
She went on to say that because of the huge accumulative debt owed SALCAB, it has actually prevented SALCAB to what she described as, “honoring its commitment to the National Revenue Authority (NRA).”