Communications regulator wins Supreme Court challenge

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) last week won a Supreme Court challenge affirming its constitutional validity to levy regulatory fees.

The ruling comes after a legal battle initiated by Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) challenging the legality of Cran’s authority under section 23 of the Communications Act.

According to the act, Cran can impose a levy to ‘defray’ its ‘expenses’, for the purpose of regulating the telecommunications, postal, and radio spectrum industries.

The levy is equivalent to 1,5% of the gross annual income of telecommunications providers.
The legal battle with MTC started in December 2020, and in 2022 the High Court declared that section, as amended, and any regulations prescribed to that provision, as unconstitutional and null and void.

Cran challenged that ruling in the Supreme Court.

Cran’s chief executive Emilia Nghikembua says the regulator has not collected regulatory levies since 22 August 2022.

“This has undermined Cran’s viability as regulatory levies make up 80% of Cran’s revenue,” she said.

According to the 13 March verdict, Cran can resume collecting levies backdating to August 2022.

Nghikembua said the court’s decision will enable Cran to refocus on its core mission of ensuring equitable access to affordable and quality telecommunication services for all Namibians.

“This mandate was hugely undermined by the lack of sufficient resources to defray the cost of regulation, due to the uncertainty around the regulatory levies, being our biggest source of revenue,” she said.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News