HARGEISA – A senior Somaliland diplomat says the time has now come for the Government of the Republic of Somaliland to establish a new country calling code.
Rashid Nur, Somaliland’s representative to the U.S, made the suggestion in a Facebook post last week, in response to a new telecoms law passed by the Government of Somalia last week.
Somalia’s government says the new ‘National Communications Act’ was created to ‘regulate’ the growing telecom industry.
Not much is known about the telecoms act, which worries many in Somaliland as the country currently shares the +252 country calling code with Somalia.
Nur says his calls for a new country calling code have fallen on deaf ears many times before, and that it’s time swift action be taken.
“I’ve raised concerns about Somaliland’s telecommunications companies using the 252 area code many times before, and how its usage is a great risk to our national security,” Nur wrote in the post.
“Our telecommunications companies have been turning a blind eye to this issue – which can no longer be tolerated. They must take an active role in a finding solution to this problem and co-operate with Somaliland’s authorities” Nur added.
Somaliland’s largest telecommunication companies, Somtel, Telesom, and Somcable, have yet to comment on the new draft law passed by Somalia’s cabinet.
Nur says the companies should co-operate before the government takes action and implements a new calling code by force.
“Somaliland will not allow our telecommunication industry to be governed by Somalia’s laws,” Nur wrote. If these companies ignore it, we will change it by force,”.
Country calling codes are assigned by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues relating to information and communication technologies.
ITU’s membership consists of 193 member states, 700 public and private sector companies and many regional telecommunication entities.
Despite being unrecognized, Somaliland can purchase a country calling code from any ITU member.
Nur says Somaliland could explore that option if Somalia goes through with the new law.