Native Consortium takes NATCOM to Court on Floor Price Protest
By Morlai Kargbo
The Native Consortum and Research Center (NCRC), have filed a case at the High Court of Sierra Leone against the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM) on grounds of a bridge of section 52 to 56 of the National Telecoms ACT No. 9 of 2006 as Amended.
According to a press release signed by NCRCs Executive Director, Edmond Abu Jr, the litigation came in as a protest against the compelling directive from the countrys Telecom regulator to Telecom providers in sticking with a Le 590 voice tariff price.
We would like to draw the attention of the general public that the Native Consortium and Research Center (NCRC) has initiated a lawsuit against the telecommunications regulator NATCOM for acting ultra vires of section 53&52 of the Telecom Act No9 of 2006 as amended, the statement reads.
The statement also explains that the NATCOM directive compelling mobile companies to stick to a floor tariff of Le 590 which invariably criminalizes any drop below that floor flagrantly violates the Telecom Act 53 & 52 No 9 of 2006 as amended.
The directive the statement say has consequently forced the mobile companies to withdraw all free calls, promos and bonuses from their products which has had a telling effect on the masses.
It could be recalled that in March this year, the NCRC had threatened to stage a million man protest across five districts in the country and also take NATCOM to court over the enforcement of the Le 590 floor voice tariff which had caused the removal of all bonuses by Mobile Companies thus causing great dismay for subscribers across the country.
According to NATCOM, the introduction of the Floor Price is in conformity with the 2019 finance Act.
“We call on NATCOM to ensure that we revert to the era of free calls, bonuses etc; the absence of which we would be left with no option but to pursue the matter to the hilt, the statement continues.
In conclusion, the Native Consortium and Research Center reiterates its solid stance with the government to confront the current pandemic and recognize the fact that affordable communication is one of the effective tools to enhance the fight against the deadly virus.