The National Communications Authority (NCA) says it will soon automate the license renewal process to ensure a smooth and fast process for internet service providers and media houses.
The Authority stated that it has conducted a nationwide audit for Radio and Broadcast stations and is currently conducting an audit for the service providers.
The Acting Chief Executive of the NCA, Joe Anokye said this before the Public Accounts Committee.
A report in 2015 by the Auditor-General indicated that about 14 internet service providers had not renewed their licenses, in some cases since 2005.
According to the NCA, the failure of internet service providers to renew their licenses in some cases could be attributed to the delays associated with the manual renewal process.
“One of the things we have done since the beginning of the year is to embark on a nationwide audit exercise for all the states that we regulate, both the FM and TV because you have so many of these providers and your system of management is manual and it is a challenge having the various divisions correlate” Mr. Anokye stated.
He added that “to address that we have embarked on the digitization of the business processes, so that for example if provider A’s licence is up for renewal, automatically the authority will be notified. We have done a nationwide audit for the Radio and broadcast holders, we are also currently doing it for service providers.”
According to him, “With the new system, we will be able to address renewal of licences.”
NCA to sanction Media Houses
Communication Minister, Ursula Owusu had earlier this year announced that some media houses were going to be sanctioned for various infractions including the non-renewal of their licences.
The affected radio stations were to suffer penalties ranging from suspensions to revocations of their frequencies depending on the gravity of the offence.
“…Sanctions will be applied to those who flouted the license condition, they are over a hundred and sanctions range from suspension to revocation of the authorization and some would have fines imposed upon them. They range from either expiry of the authorization, incomplete application for extension or renewal, non-payment of fees, transfer of licenses to other agencies without prior approval of the NCA and a range of other issues.” She stated.
She mentioned that the NCA was taking such measures in an attempt to sanitize the radio space.
According to her “we need to have some sanity in this space and so those are the measures we are putting in place to ensure that everybody who signed up to operate a radio station and this country will abide by the license conditions that they’ve signed up to.”
By: Rita Mensah and Sixtus Dong Ullo/citifmonline.com/Ghana