Telecoms Ministry awaits completion of GRA/GTT talks to move ahead with liberalization process

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The Ministry of Public Telecommunications is awaiting the completion of negotiations between the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) to continue with the process of liberalization.

Following the passage of the Telecommunications (amendment) legislation a year ago, Government had stated that the sector will become fully liberalized at the end of July this year.  However, Minister with responsibility for the sector, Cathy Hughes reported that the process will not be completed at the end of August.

“Part of the negotiations require GTT and the Guyana Revenue Authority to be working out tax issues and that aspect which in fact impacts on the negotiations,” she noted, adding the GRA is an independent body and she cannot speed-up the process.

She told an AFC news conference today that a meeting between the two agencies was hosted up to last week and was deemed fruitful. In the meantime, the Ministry is putting systems in place to establish its regulatory agency.

“We are actually designing and looking now at job descriptions for the new telecoms agency which becomes the new regulatory agency under which individuals which are going to be applying for licenses –and here we are talking licenses in terms of spectrum and any other area where they would be interested in,” Hughes explained.

The National Frequency Management will be submerged into the Telecommunications Agency. Telecommunications (amendment) Bill 15/2016 passed in the National Assembly in August, 2016, was seen as the first step to end the GTT monopoly and attract new investors. Both Digicel and GTT had welcomed the passage of the bill.

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