LTA’s New Tariff a ‘Burden’ on Consumers

first_imgThe National Association of Telecommunications & ICT Consumers (NATELCO) is suggesting that the US$0.05 tariff (fee) required of telecommunications service providers by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), for all outgoing international calls, contravenes all processes and procedures as enshrined in the LTA Consultation Process Guidelines. According to the consumers’ group, the new regulation is too abrupt, burdensome and unacceptable. On July 31 this year, the LTA through its board chair, Angelique Weeks, issued an order establishing regulatory surcharges for both incoming and outgoing international voice traffic. The order took effect 30 days from the date of issuance, which was the end of August, 2015. According to the terms of the regulation, all international calls from Liberia shall incur a regulatory surcharge of US$0.05 per minute to be paid to the LTA by the originating service provider. Telecommunications operators have said that the surcharge will have to be borne completely by consumers. The LTA Consultation Process Guidelines require that, “prior to issuing of any order or any exercise of its authority that is likely to have any substantial impact on network operators, service providers, any other market participant or the general public, the LTA shall conduct a process of public consultation appropriate to the circumstances and shall take account of the results of the public consultation in the final exercise of its authority.”It states further that, at the conclusion of the consultation process, the LTA shall publish a brief report on the results. “Unfortunately, all of these steps were not taken into consideration prior to the issuance of the order to increase the tariff,” said chairman of NATELCO, Bartholomew Wilson.He described the newly introduced US$0.05 tariff (fee) as a “burden” on mobile-phone users, which customers will pay to service providers on all international calls from Liberia. In a press statement issued yesterday, Mr. Wilson called on the LTA to revisit its recent decision regarding the added tariff for outgoing international voice calls. “What concerns us most is the manner and form in which this regulation was issued and the overall trickle-down effect it is sure to pose on the over 2 million consumers, that majority survive on overseas support from family members and relatives especially during difficult times like these,” Mr. Wilson said.He continued, “We all know the economic burden the Ebola crisis has incurred on the livelihood of our people; in a country where there is complete economic devastation, with basic institutional collapse. The least we want to see is any regulation/order that will not add to the suffering of the people who are still striving to recover from a period of chaos and hardship.”He explained further that his group will continue to speak against any such regulation that will undermine the interest of the consuming populace.Mr. Wilson is convinced the LTA’s order “is an indirect attempt to impose financial burden on consumers,” who will ultimately bear the burden of the new regulation, which contradicts the preamble of the Consumers’ Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights states that, “the LTA maintains that the consumer is King and that it is the obligation of all service providers to respect and uphold their rights.”He meanwhile called on the LTA, the National Legislature, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, and all service providers to immediately suspend the implementation of the order until a proper consultation is carried out.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UNIQUE BASKING SHARK RESEARCH BEGINS OFF COAST OF DONEGAL

first_imgA unique research project off the coast of Inishowen into basking shark behaviour has started in earnest.An unusually early start to the shark season in April caught Donegal’s basking shark research team from Queens University in Belfast a little off guard.With sea surface summer temperatures starting to climb above 11 degree Celsius for prolonged periods a Malin head based research team are gearing up for what may prove to be one of the most memorable seasons in recent Irish marine research. To investigate shark movements and predator- prey associations the team plan to deploy numerous different types of tracking tags on the sharks including five satellite relaying tags.It is hoped these pioneering Fastloc GPS enabled tags will relay live positions and record fine scale movements of the huge sharks.Until now tracking marine based animals has proven to be extremely problematic for scientists because satellite signals can only be retrieved from a steady platform on the waters surface.Light Geo-location using recorded measurements of light levels and day and night have been used to roughly determine positions (with an approx. 75km radius of uncertainty). All sounds a bit complicated, well it is, add in a cocktail of unseasonal weather, unpredictable shark behaviour and some of the Atlantic oceans roughest waters and the possibilities of success are greatly reduced.This small chance of success hasn’t deterred the Inishowen based researchers who are working with the Marine Biological School in Queens University Belfast to pioneer this deployment a first for Ireland and the Atlantic.“Last year we pioneered the worlds first deployment of Timed Depth Recorders on the basking shark, this year we are taking it to another level with the deployment of five Fastloc enabled satellite tags.“If they work, the data recovered will provide an insight into the shark’s behaviour which has been an enigma to marine biologists for decades.” stated Emmett Johnston the project coordinator.The tag deployments are the final part of a five month long programme of marine based community awareness funded by the Inishowen Development Partnership entitled ‘The Monster Munch Project’. Five lucky Primary School classes from Inishowen have named the tags and will be following their progress over a google maps viewer in a newly developed section of the website.For more details log onto www.baskingshark.ieUNIQUE BASKING SHARK RESEARCH BEGINS OFF COAST OF DONEGAL was last modified: May 10th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Basking SharksInishowenlast_img read more