By Tabora Bojang
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has installed a new electromagnetic field radiation monitoring equipment to help enhance the authority’s regulatory stance for a robust protection measure against effects of ionizing radiation.
The equipment is procured with funding from the World Bank.
The launch was attended by the governor of the West Coast Region Ousman Bojang, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the World Bank, mobile and internet service operator chiefs among a host of other dignitaries.
Pura director general Yusupha M Jobe, said procurement of the new electromagnetic monitoring device is meant to address issues which may raise unnecessary alarm and panic to the general public regarding the possible negative health effects from the use of mobile phones and radio base stations.
“PURA, as part of its consumer protection mandate, has developed Guidelines for Electromagnetic radiation from Electricity and Telecommunications/ ICT services providers. This EMF radiation monitoring equipment will monitor frequencies for 100 Hz to 60GHz, implying that virtually all frequencies used by the telecommunication/ICT service providers will be monitored,” DG Jobe said.
He disclosed that Pura had conducted audits of some base station masts and towers in the Greater Banjul Area for structural integrity and assessed the level of radiations from all the sites, which confirmed that radiation levels are significantly lower than the reference levels recommended by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
“The general public is therefore assured that all mobile technologies are safe. As part of its regulatory mandate, Pura in collaboration with the relevant state institutions will continue to measure and check compliance to the safety levels of radio frequency exposure to ensure protection of all users of communication services including 5G when it becomes available in the Gambia and any future advanced technologies.
World Bank senior public sector specialist Michael Jelenk restated that the World Bank remains committed and resolute in supporting Pura to optimise its regulatory role in the telecoms sector which he described as critical to growth and development in the Gambia.
“We believe that this technology will help Pura to independently verify, evaluate and validate Electromagnetic field safety compliance in line with international standards. It is a key step to ensuring consumer safety in the Gambia,” the World Bank specialist added.
The project manager Gambia fiscal management and development project at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Anta Tall, said the project aims at improving the use and profitability of the telecoms industry which contributes significantly to the GDP of the Gambian economy both in terms of revenue mobilisation and employment creation.
Madam Tall stated that the support rendered to the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and PURA under the project signals the importance the government places on the ICT sector for its fiscal reforms and macro-economic programming.
She disclosed that the project since inception supported Pura in procuring both hardware and software to critically carry out their regulatory functions.
Pura’s Board Chairman Alieu Ngum, who formally launched the device, expressed sincere appreciation to the World Bank and the Government of the Gambia for supporting the Authority in its drive to come up with best appropriate measures to effectively carry out its mandate.