PARL PASSES TELCO BILL

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National Parliament of Solomon Islands
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All sims cards will soon be registered

By EDDIE OSIFELO

PARLIAMENT passed the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 2021 yesterday despite earlier recommendations from the Bills and Legislative Committee to have it withdrawn.

This came after the Committee of the Whole House adopted changes to some of the clauses in the Bill, that will form part of a new Act.

The changes resulted in deletion of some sections and substitution of others.

Also, some sections were omitted while new sections have been inserted.

Further to that, the changes omit the penalty units in the bill and substitute the maximum penalty for individual to $50,000 penalty units and five years imprisonment, while penalty for corporate bodies is $500,000 penalty unit.

Minister of Communication and Aviation, Peter Shanel Agovaka said the new Act will accommodate the changes.

However, MP for East Are Are and chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Peter Kenilorea Junior said on social media after the passage of the bill said despite recommendation for the withdrawal of the bill in its current form, the Government has the numbers so they pushed through the bill regardless of the many flaws the Bills and Legislative committee identified.

“We had to read the bill with its corrigendum.

“I think we were pushing it today in parliament as to what the definition of a ‘corrigendum’ is.

“The ‘corrigendum’ we saw in parliament contained new drafting amending the amendment bill itself,” he said.

Kenilorea said the corrigendum contained substantial amendment to the amendment bill.

“It was a disheartening exercise as a lawmaker as I know the law parliament passed today could have been better,” he added.

This bill will see compulsory registration of all prepaid SIM cards that are sold by service providers in the country.

It establishes the minimum age for purchasing SIM card, which is 15, and requires person to provide valid ID when purchasing SIM cards from the service providers or their agents.

The service providers (Our Telekom and Bmobile) and agents will be responsible for establishing an electronic registry for recording accurate information to identify the purchasers.

Parliament continues today.


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