A high-powered delegation of Senior Executives of Orange Sonatel visited NATCOM on 31st October 2022. Among the delegation were the deputy CEO and COO of Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA), Mr. Brelotte Ba, CEO of SONATEL, Mr. Sekou Drame, Deputy CEO of SONATEL, Mr, Fabrice Andre, in addition to other dignitaries of OMEA.
The Director-General of the regulatory authority, Mr. Daniel Kaitibi welcomed the delegation to NATCOM. He furthered that he and he his team were pleased to listen to them and frankly discuss the purpose of their visit.
Mr. Brelotte Ba, Deputy CEO and COO of Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA) started by indicating the objective of their visit. In his words, the reason for their visit was to mainly discuss ORANGE and SONATEL’s strategy of development in Africa, Orange’s ambition for Sierra Leone in the area of business and innovation and to provide update on the consolidation, mobilization and enhancement of Orange’s contribution to telecommunications service delivery in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Brelotte Ba made mentioned the investment Orange Mobil Company is making in a second Data Center in Bo in order to have redundant connectivity between Freetown and Bo, which will in turn serve the entire country. In view of the fact that data centres are critical to our work, Orange is working assiduously to have the two centres connected via fiber. He thanked DG Kaitibi for providing the apt leadership for the Commission for creating the enabling environment for them to implement work processes to enhance communication services in the country. He continued to say that Orange is investing in modernizing the network, investing in innovation and training young Sierra Leoneans so that they can adhere to and move positively along with the good deeds of advancements in digitalization and digital technologies.
During the course of the discussions, mention was made of GST liability relating to floor price in data services as stated in the Finance Act, 2022 and customer registration relating to NIN-SIM integration of subscriber sim cards.
The team for Orange Sonatel expressed appreciation to the leadership of the Commission for the open door policy, which exists between them in the discharge of their telecommunications work.
Responding, DG Kaitibi expressed gratitude to the Orange team for taking time out to visit the Commission. He continued to say that his leadership style has always been and will always continue to be, to follow the mandate of the Commission, which is to “foster a progressive and enabling environment for the development of the ICT industry in Sierra Leone.” DG Kaitibi averred that the regulatory processes and procedures are in line with President Bio’s desire to have a digitally inclusive Sierra Leone, which is in harmony with the Medium Term National Development Plan cluster 3.5 (greater efficiency in connectivity service delivery because of the digital divide).
DG Kaitibi concluded by stating that the doors of the Commission will always remain open for discussions and work relating to improvements in the communications ecosystem. On the issues the Orange team raised, he states that he will seek further stakeholder alignment.