Regulator in sight

24 March 2006

The law creating a telecoms regulatory authority (TRA) has been signed by Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. The proposed authority will consist of a seven-member board made up of one chairman, two government appointees and four private sector representatives, all to be appointed by the president.

However, the bill is expected to be resubmitted for scrutiny by the new Hamas-led parliament by the end of March. Industry sources expect that the law will then be referred to a legal committee for a month-long review before being ratified, possibly with minor amendments. The review comes after uncertainty over the legitimacy of signing a law that had not been examined by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

The legal committee is expected to examine the implications on the regulator's independence of the proposed funding of the TRA by the PA. It will also look into procedures to appoint its members. 'The review will ensure that the TRA is fully independent, with a true and honest structure and operates to the benefit of the consumer,' Telecoms Minister Sabri Saidam told MEED on 15 March.

'In creating the TRA, we are following the same process as Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, where the regulators work effectively,' says Saidam.

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