Somalilandsun: The rapidly evolving mobile phone technology in the Somaliland has raised public concern about the possibility of associate adverse health effects.
This concern was raised at parliament buildings in Hargeisa where the Communications and Technology minister Abdiweli Sufi Jibril was briefing the House of Representatives Economy and finance sub-committee.
Having been summoned by the sub-committee for ministerial activities updates as per constitutional dictates the minister took the opportunity to clarify on what he termed as misconceived announcement that the government has revoked operating licenses for all telecommunications companies while concurring with the legislators the imperatives of expediting removal of cell phone signal relay towers installed within all major towns in the country.
On the large number of telecommunication towers installed within residential areas in the country, deputy chairman of the finance committee of the Somaliland House of Representatives, MP Mohamud Ahmed Obsiye revealed that legislators are inundated by concerns raised by their constituencies nationwide.
“For a long time members of parliament have been receiving complaints about the large number of towers installed within residential areas especially as relates to health” said MP Obsiye who revealed that studies commissioned by the August house indicates that within the Capital Hargeisa there are 220 towers installed by various telecommunication companies within residential areas.
The study showed that 187 of the towers in Hargeisa Total HF‐EMF and exposure were slightly below or at per with International Telecommunications Union-ITU recommended levels (max. 4.1 mW/m2) but despite very low exposure to HF‐EMF, effects on wellbeing and performance cannot be ruled out, namely sleeping problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mobile phone base stations.
The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, and associated with wireless phone use.
While acknowledging that the telecom sector is providing thousands of jobs in the country both the minister and legislators concurred on the possible serious health problem to billions of people besides causing harm to birds, animals, plants etc.
Thus unanimity that government of Somaliland ban installation of new towers within residential areas and the expedited relocation of already installed cell phone signal relays towers in the targeted areas.
On the recently announcement made by Somaliland’s Ministry of Communications and Technology that the government has revoked operating licenses for all telecommunication companies in the country, the minister said the exercise was undertaken in order to comply with ITU guidelines.
“When we announced this move many people claimed that it was aimed at destroying the burgeoning telecom sector in the Country” said Minister Abdiweli Sufi Jibril as he went on to inform that most telecommunications companies received licenses two decades ago.
Stating that the move was geared to not only improving the licensing process but ensure ITU guidelines are adhered to in Somaliland, the minister said all affected companies are free to apply for renewal while all those that fulfill conditions shall be availed the legal avenues for operations