The Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology is the Ministry with portfolio responsibility for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. At present, this sector consists of telecommunications, postal communications and the infrastructure related to the delivery of audio-visual broadcast services.
The sector is regulated by five (5) entities:
- The Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) which in addition to issuing rules and directives to telecommunication providers, receives and processes applications for licences to provide telecommunication services.
- The Spectrum Management Authority – which manages the use of the radio frequency spectrum.
- The Broadcasting Commission – which monitors and regulates electronic media; including subscriber television operators.
- The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) – which in conjunction with the OUR, monitors and regulates competition matters; and
- The Consumer Affairs Commission – whose role is to, inter alia, protect the rights of consumers, in conjunction with the OUR and the FTC.
Presently, the Ministry is embarking on a comprehensive review of the legal and regulatory framework for the ICT sector to include the:
- repeal of the Telecommunications Act and promulgation of a comprehensive ICT Act;
- establishment of a converged, single regulator for the ICT sector to replace the need for the multiplicity of regulators;
- repeal of the Postal Services Act; as a first step in ushering in a new postal services industry driven by technology and the multiplicity of service offerings in a single location; and
- promulgation of a Data Protection Act, to promote confidence in ICT use by protecting the collection, use and storage of personal data.
The Ministry will also be implementing the National Cyber Security Strategy with special focus on four (4) key areas: protection of critical infrastructure; strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes; building human resource capacities and increasing public awareness about cyber security. This work has already begun, as the Cybercrimes Act is currently being amended to provide more robust tools to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes and to keep the legislation apace with advances in technology.
In addition, the Ministry will be undertaking new policy initiatives, in particular, an Internet Governance Policy and a Free and Open Source Policy. In the case of the latter, the newly appointed Government Chief Information Officer, will have responsibility for its implementation, as well as, streamlining the use of ICTs across government, as the Ministry seeks to ensure that Government becomes the exemplar user of ICTs by 2030.