Somalia’s parliament on Wednesday approved the National Communications Act to regulate the country’s telecommunication sector.

Abdi Ashur Hassan, minister for posts, telecoms and technology said the bill, finally endorsed by 158 votes to 1, was submitted to parliament in early July after consultations with all stakeholders in the last few months.

The telecommunications bill calls for the creation of telecoms regulatory authority, development of the country with telecommunications technology, protecting corporate and consumer rights and more participation by private sectors in developing the sector.

Drafting of this bill started as early as 2004 and has been sitting in front of 7th, 8th and 9th federal parliaments.

Hassan said the Bill had been allowed to remain idle for years, while technology was changing rapidly. He thanked the federal parliament for approving this bill unanimously and making a history.

“We recognize the tremendous and increasing impact that the telecoms sector has on the advancement of our economy and society. This Bill is a major breakthrough for the Somali people and the telecommunications sector in particular. It has been long promised, and we are indeed proud, to present the Bill for debate and passage by this honourable House,” Ashur said.