Over the last two decades the government of Jordan has established a sustainable information technology ecosystem that promotes the Kingdom ‘s competitiveness as well as advertise Jordanian digital skills and success stories.
However, a great deal of obstacles and delays stood before key initiatives and national projects such as the E-government and National Broadband Network. Lack of funding, lack of coordination between public entities, bureaucracy and short-term cabinets and communications minsters (in some cases less than a year) all contributed to a slowing down of the implementation of what considered in the early 2000s to be a futuristic plan to modernize the public sector and make it an example to the whole region.
Following the COVID-19 crisis which consequently forced governments to introduce full lockdowns, the importance of digital transformation has been amplified. In addition to this, the devastating economic impact caused by the pandemic has resulted in governments having to think outside the box when it comes to utilizing the digital transformation to drive growth due to the severe impact faced by many economics sector throughout this global health crisis.
The Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship – MoDEE (previously Ministry of Communications and Information Technology – MoICT) worked particularly hard during the last period to accelerate the digitization of public sector services, to not only deal with the reality implicated by the pandemic but to also ensure that the government remains up and running, attracting investments and creating jobs as part of its economy recovery.
So, what’s new? The MoDEE is suggesting an amendment to the Telecommunications Law No. 13 of 1995 and its amendments. As the ministry name suggests; it is responsible for the digital economy ‘transformation’ as well as promoting entrepreneurship. In that sense, the draft amendments suggest adding definitions to digital transformation as well as entrepreneurship, among others. Moreover, adding to the ministry’s mandates the responsibility of establishing a national strategy for digital transformation, general policy for entrepreneurship and a national information system which depends on public and private sectors databases.
Other interesting amendments to the law include the clear distinction between the regulator’s (Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) chair of the board of commissioners and the Chief Executive Officer (the CEO), historically both posts were held by one person. In the future, if the amending law passes the legislative process, we should expect total structural separation between the two functions. Moreover, the amendments suggest part-time members of the board, which means interventions from the board on day-to-day operations of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission will end, which I believe will make the board members more focused on taking decisions rather than building them from scratch.
The amended law is published on the Legislation and Opinion Bureau website, the comments and inquires should be submitted on form no later than December 20th, 2021.