MP challenges gov’t to inject capital in Digitel
The chairperson of the information committee in the national parliament, John Agany, has appealed to the government to invest in Digitel as part of the initiative to support a local telecommunications communication company.
Agany said the government needed to support the telco to build its subscription base. “The only thing we have to do is invest in this area of telecommunication; we have our Digitel, which is a South Sudanese company, and we need to pour money in,” he said.
He was speaking during a session aimed at brainstorming ways of ensuring that locally-owned companies could compete with foreign companies.
According to Agany, the telco lacks the capacity to match its peers in the market due to low investment in infrastructure.
“Digitel is only operating in Juba, and if you go to any other place, it is not there. “The best decision is that they have to be given a chance to invest and be given money to erect more towers and create more stations,” he added.
Agany suggested that the company should be allocated more funds in the coming fiscal year’s budget to drive its competitive edge.
“We are waiting for the next budget to project that one…if the government accepts to cut some of the money and give it to Digitel such that they have more towers, more equipment to build more towers, then definitely, we will move away from expensive companies.’’
He also appealed to the government to invest more money in the network in order to strengthen its coverage.
The lawmaker claimed that foreign companies that deal in US dollars have been compelled to increase their tariffs at the expense of the poor subscribers, a problem he claims could be solved when Digital offers an alternative.
Agany argued that the company currently has lower calling rates, which is in itself an added advantage.
Agany’s remarks come nearly a month after the National Communication Authority (NCA) cleared the two leading telcos, MTN and Zain, to revise their rates upward on the basis of inflation.
While the decision caused an uproar among subscribers, the telcos defended the move, saying the rates were in tandem with the prevailing demands of the economy, taking into account the recent wild appreciation of the dollar.