NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The country’s utilities regulator has come under scrutiny from its licensees over what they describe as “significant” increases forecasted in its 2023 budget, with one major communications provider stating that the days of telcos being a “cash cow” are over.
Both Cable Bahamas Limited Group and BTC in their responses to the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority’s (URCA) 2023 Draft Annual Plan expressed concern over the regulator’s increased budget as well as continued high staff turnover and its impact on the regulator’s overall efficiency.
The CBL Group in its response noted, “The employee turnover at URCA has been a cause of concern for sometime and we trust that URCA carries out exit interviews to better understand the reasons. Perhaps it is time for URCA to take an in-depth examination of the organization as a whole in order to identify the systemic reasons for such high turnover, particularly in certain areas which, by URCA’s admission has impacted its ability to start and complete projects particularly in the past two years, causing a carry over of more than 50 percent of the 2022 projects which will surely impact the competition of the 2023 projects.”
The CBL Group noted that as a licensee it also faces similar challenges particularly with unexpected employee turnover but nevertheless is required to meet its licensee obligations.
“URCA should deliberately seek to avoid circumstances in which a significant amount of the Plan projects are abandoned or not completed as and when intended as this has implications, sometimes serious, for delayed progress of the sector. The 2022 carry over of six projects is not a good reflection,” the CBL Group noted.