“Our digital future is too important for half-baked legislation”: LIRNEasia Chair Prof. Rohan Samarajiva


Posted on May 17, 2024  /  0 Comments

In an insightful analysis published in the Daily FT, Professor Rohan Samarajiva, Chair of LIRNEasia, examines whether the proposed amendments to the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act are ready for the future, or even adequate for the present.

While questioning the future-readiness of the legislation in terms of consumer rights and market competition in the telecom sector, Prof. Samarajiva has also asked whether the amendments provide a clear and coordinated legal framework necessary for the future deployment of advanced telecom infrastructure, essential for smart cities.

Highlighting several critical issues related to the structure, capacity, and functioning of the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC), here are some of the key issues addressed in his analysis.

1. Does the proposed amendment address the structural and organisational problems of the TRC?

2. Why are the appointment and removal procedures of TRC members not revised in the amendments?

3. Given its past issues and current structure, is the TRC equipped to handle its expanded powers and responsibilities under the proposed legislation?

Prof. Samarajiva recommends withdrawing the current bill and conducting broad public consultations to ensure comprehensive and well-informed legislation, stating, “Even if the rigid rules of the Legal Draftsman’s Department do not allow for public consultations, there are provisions in the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Act that allow for public consultations and public-notice proceedings. The Minister’s own Ministry has experience in conducting consultations. They should be done, and the drafting done right. Our digital future is too important for half-baked legislation.”

Read the full analysis in FT.lk here.

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