Sri Lanka minister says South Asian telecom watchdogs should swiftly cut tariffs

Aug 03, 2008 (LBO) – South Asian telecommunications regulators should quickly move to bring down overseas telephone tariffs, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama said at the conclusion of a regional leaders’ meeting. Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa raised the issue of cheaper call charges during his opening speech at the summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) in Colombo on Saturday.

At the conclusion of the meeting on Sunday he said cutting international call charges within the SAARC region would give practical effect to this year’s theme of forging partnerships based on people by having a uniformly low rate for inter-country calls.

“At present, though the rates have admittedly been coming down over the years, nevertheless, the call charges within the region remain somewhat costly,” President Rajapaksa said.

Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama said the region’s leaders expected the telecom regulators to move quickly to cut tariffs.

A declaration issued at the end of the summit meeting said an economical regional telecommunications regime was needed to encourage “connectivity” and “people centric partnerships”.

The declaration said members sta