Missed Call

August 02, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should unilaterally liberalise its telecommunications sector even further and update outdated regulations to avoid falling behind the rest of south Asia, a telecom expert has said. The country was also not living up to its commitments made in international trade negotiations and its telecom sector was losing momentum, Rohan Samarajiva, former director-general of the telecom regulator said.

The outdated Telecommunications Act needs to be updated urgently to attract more investment, ensure better regulation and benefit consumers, he told an international trade law conference organized by the Sri Lanka Law College Wednesday.

Lagging Behind

He said there was a misconception that countries involved in General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) talks “give up something” and therefore should get something in return.

“Sri Lanka has done liberalisation, unilaterally reduced our barriers and made a little bit of commitment to GATS,” Samarajiva said.

Samarajiva also heads LIRNEasia, a think tank, and is policy advisor to the Bangladesh Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

“I recommend that we should go further increase our levels of commitmen