LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

What we said back in 2013 about need to build capacity and prioritize regulatory tasks

In the course of teaching a course for the staff of the Post and Telecom Department of the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communication, I had occasion to look again at the comments we had submitted back on December 2013 for a consultation on draft regulations for the sector. This is from a comment on the regulations governing competition and price regulation:

30.5 Given the relative inexperience of the regulator in competition law and policy, the paucity of technical skills may well be a significant problem. Therefore, it may be prudent to establish a list of regulatory priorities and focus the existing human capital resources on the most important tasks. For instance, ensuring interconnection and access to new entrants is a key priority. On the other hand, attempting to calculate long run average incremental costs to detect and prevent predatory pricing [see Clauses 8(vi) and 46(a)] may be initially very difficult and taxing for inexperienced personnel. Also as evidenced in international good practice, asymmetric regulation is a useful principle to adopt when attempting to focus on regulatory priorities and actions. It is encouraging to note that this principle has been adopted throughout The Rules from sections dealing with dominant providers to tariff regulation. However, developing country experience has also shown that weak and under-resourced regulatory agencies have great difficulty in making the necessary complex determinations about the existence or not of dominance, and even determining relevant markets.

Almost four years later, sadly, not much capacity development has occurred. And looking at the regulations that had been adopted in 2014, I see that some resource intensive tasks such as determining dominant operator status had been included in the regulations, but had not yet been implemented.

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