“Amendment process of Sri Lanka’s Telecoms Act not transparent and open”: LIRNEasia policy fellow Tahani Iqbal

Posted on May 19, 2024  /  0 Comments

In her latest article for Daily FT, LIRNEasia policy fellow Tahani Iqbal critiques the current amendment process of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Act, stating it “has not been transparent and open,” and calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the Act, aligning with the newly issued National Digital Economy Strategy 2030, to truly drive Sri Lanka’s digital development.

“It is critical that the Government puts a stop to its conservative and traditional approach to telecoms regulation and handles it in a way that will ensure that digital connectivity spurs the development of the nation. Converged markets and services require converged authorities and approaches to governance. The amended Bill has no place in Sri Lanka’s digital future and should be sent back to the drawing board for a proper re-draft.”

Despite several attempts to revise the Act, Tahani argues that the lack of substantial updates has left Sri Lanka with a “low level maturity [in] legal and governance frameworks,” as evidenced by its G2 ranking from the International Telecommunications Union. She also highlights the stark contrast between Sri Lanka and nations like Malaysia and Singapore, which have proactively updated their regulatory frameworks to accommodate new technologies and business models.

Emphasising the importance of the telecom sector to Sri Lanka’s development goals, she points out that a process for soliciting feedback through open and public consultation should be the bare minimum requirement before proceeding any further.

Read the full analysis in FT.lk here.

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