July 17, 2024
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    The Committee on Public Finance approves the Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill for the purpose of amend the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act.

    July 01, 2024

    The Sri Lanka Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill to amend the Telecommunications Act was considered at the Committee on Public Finance to which the said approval was granted.

    This was approved when the Committee on Public Finance met in Parliament on 25.06.2024 under the Chairmanship of Hon. (Dr.) Harsha de Silva, Member of Parliament. Officials representing Attorney General's Department, Ministry of Technology, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and other institutions were present at the Committee meeting held.

    The Speaker recently announced the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the petitions filed against this Bill submitted by the Minister of Technology to Parliament on 10th May 2024 to amend the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act No. 25 of 1991.

    Accordingly, the officials who were present stated that respecting the decision of the Supreme Court, they will take measures to submit all necessary amendments to the Bill. The officials also said that it is a need of the hour to amend this Act along with the technical trends of the world and although the Cabinet Sub-committees have worked for the amendment of this Bill on three previous occasions, it has not been accomplished.

    The officials also stated that this Bill was prepared after extensive discussions with all stakeholders in the telecommunication sector in accordance with the accepted standards of the world. Thus, in a more competitive market, there is scope for a regulation that is fair to the consumer.

    It was also disclosed that this will introduce a mechanism under a competitive system in providing telecommunication frequencies. According to this, the relevant regulations should be compiled by the Parliament and thus the opportunity to introduce the new technology to the telecommunications sector of the country will arise as well as it will be possible to properly regulate the institutions that conduct this business, the officials pointed out.

    It was also disclosed that in addition to the existing telecommunication system licenses and frequency licenses, 3 other types of licenses will be introduced through these amendments. Through the said, in addition to the companies that provide telecommunication services, licenses are also given to companies that provide infrastructure. The officials also stated that the powers of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will be strengthened through these amendments.

    Furthermore, the officials also pointed out that through these amendments, there is an opportunity to give the customer the advantage of reducing tariff in the market competition.  It was also discussed that amendments have been submitted for the security of undersea telecommunication cables.

    The Chair of the Committee emphasized that given the world is changing rapidly with advancement of telecommunication related technology, we as a country must ensure our legislation to leverage and benefit from such technology. Furthermore, the Chair of the Committee stated that these amendments will be a more positive step forward to introduce the new technology in the telecommunication sector.

    Moreover, Hon. (Dr.) Harsha de Silva, stated that this Bill is being considered by the Committee on Public Finance to investigate matters related to public finances, market competition and transparency, consumer fairness, etc.

    State Ministers Hon. Anupa Pasqual and Hon. (Dr.) Suren Raghavan, Members of Parliament Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Hon. Harshana Rajakaruna, Hon. Premnath C. Dolawatte, Hon. Sahan Pradeep Withana, Hon. Madhura Withanage were present at the Committee meeting held. Furthermore, officials including Mr. Sumathi Dharmawardena, Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General's Department, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Mr. Madhusanka Dissanayake were also present at the Committee meeting.

    Last modified on Tuesday, 02 July 2024 14:05

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