LIGF Forum 2022, Postal Ministry Brainstorm On Nat’l ICT Policy

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The Liberia Internet Governance Forum 2022, alongside the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, on Thursday, September 1, 2022 hosted a roundtable discussion on Liberia Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy (2019—2024) in Monrovia, attended by scores of panelists the ministries of National Defense and Public Works as well as the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).

   At the LIGF and Postal Ministry organized LIGF Forum 2022 held Thursday in the ministry’s conference room. Other discussants at the one-day brainstorming event were staffers from Libtelco LTC Mobile, CSquare Liberia LL, MOH, Orange GSM Liberia, Lonestar Cell MTN Liberia, Liberia Internet Society, the House and Senate Standing Committees on Telecommunications, with separate remarks from stakeholders from the sector. The forum was hosted under the theme, “Internet Development for Inclusion in Liberia”.

   In a special statement at the start of the just-ended LIGF Forum 2022, the Post Master General, Cllr. Cooper W. Krauh, Sr., underscored the importance for cementing ties between his ministry and LIGF 2022 team and stakeholders to further step up awareness about the importance of Liberia National ICT Policy or cyber security Act sent at the National Legislature for its passage into law.

   Cyber laws are meant to provide legal protection to internet users, industries/organizations against numerous storming blocks and emerging legal issue, but here in Liberia the Cyber Security Act is with the National Legislature, awaiting its passage into law, having been received by that august body in 2016.

   Minister Krauh averred that the LIGF Forum 2022 is in fulfillment of promises made in time past by members of the House and Senate Standing Committees on Telecommunications to pass the Cyber Security Act to put Liberia on par with other nations of the world and to be to the task of averting cyber security crimes and hiking by way of the internet through its ICT Policy.

   He voiced that setting up a cyber-security forensic lab for Liberia is somewhat crucial, as seen in the case of the passage of the Cyber Security Act before National Legislature on Capitol Hill.

   According to Minister Kruah, the ICT Program covers up to 2024, and that the need to pass the Cyber Security Act to jumpstart Liberia’s ICT program and build a robust ICT sector does not only rest with the government, but needs the collective effort of all stakeholders and users of the internet.

   Giving an overview of the LIGF Forum 2022 Roundtable Discussion, Peterking Quaye, Convener, Liberia IGF, explained that the gathering is meant to facilitate discussion among multiple stakeholders or users of the internet with relation to the ICT Policy and ascertain the many challenges being encountered by them towards the implementation of the policy at their places of work.

   He said the Internet Governance Forum is held annually to promote and increase awareness on Liberia ICT Policy, to avoid risks in the sector, and withstand challenges through a multiple stakeholders approach.

   In his discourse as one of discussants during the LIGF Forum 2022, Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Tibli O. Dickson, Sr., called on members of the National Legislature through the relevant standing committees to see reason and for the sake of national security interest to legislate the Cyber Security Act.

   The Defense Ministry official opined that cyber security law for Liberia is cardinal and a challenge, not only for government but stakeholders of the sector, including internet users in avoiding cyber security crimes or preventing the hiking of network system in the country at workplaces and institutions, among others, by hikers.

   As for Joseph P. Todd, Deputy Public Works Minister for Administration, he sees the ICT Policy as a national security matter which must not be taken for granted, but was quick to add that Liberia is lagging behind when it comes to putting intact a cyber-security law due to delays by the legislators or inactions to attaching importance in enacting the Cyber Security Act in statute.

   LTA’s Senior Policy Analyst, Chrim A. Robinson, also speaking at the LIGF 2022 Forum roundtable discussion, decried that expanding access to ICT remains a major constraint being faced by the authority.

   In spite of such challenge, Robinson said LTA has put in place regulatory policies to protect and guide users of the ICT system and GSM companies here against people hiking their system operation to commit cybercrimes.

   The Liberia Internet Governance Forum 2022 roundtable on Liberia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy (2019-2024) was made possible through the support of the African Union, CSquare Liberia LL, Global Partners Digital, LTA, IGF Internet Development Forum and IGFSA as well as the Press Union of Liberia, among others.

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