Photo: David Pursehouse/Flicker. Communications towers can service many providers.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana–His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said that benefits from the recently liberalized telecommunications sector in Guyana will have far-reaching impacts.

The Head of State made this pronouncement during a recent interview where he also emphasized that breaking the monopoly creates equal opportunities at the business end, but more so delivers benefits for consumers.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

“It is a level playing field that is based on size, gross income and so on. But the ultimate objective is for the Guyanese people; for them to have faster internet, more efficient, less costly and better bandwidth.”

Just two days ago, the Government issued Commencement Orders, fully bringing into force the Telecommunications Act 2016 (the “Act”) and the Public Utilities Commission Act. The orders, which occurred within two months of the Government assuming office, are historic, as they align Guyana’s telecommunications regime to those found in other countries the world over.

“We moved from a position, a year ago, where you were hearing from one of the major providers that they were cutting staff, to [a] position today when there is an advertisement in the newspaper for staff. And they all said one thing, that Guyanese people can expect a better service, a more reliable service, a cheaper service. They’ve all said that,” President Ali noted, as he pointed to the impact of the recent move.

In expounding on additional benefits of the liberalization and its impact on job creation, the Head of State said, “As you’re aware the call centers can add important additional income to the population. If you put a call center for example, in Tuschen (East Bank Essequibo) and you train housewives who are otherwise at home to work in that call center, and they earn even $70,000 a month, that is $70,000 additional income to that family.”

President Ali further added that while Guyana traditionally had a competitive edge in the provision of services at call centers, owing to the language and investment regime, the high cost of bandwidth was a major challenge.

“We are the most competitive in terms of language because our accent is considered neutral. We had a good investment regime, but the cost of bandwidth was too much. That is resolved. And, as all the providers said, Guyana can expect ratings, and I have no doubt, this will bring great things for us,” he explained.

The legislation creates a clear, harmonized framework and a level playing field for the sector. The Government has reaffirmed its willingness to work with all stakeholders to ensure that every Guyanese has affordable access to quality and modern services. They have also assured that existing operators will not be disadvantaged.

 

David Pursehouse