The National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) is the statutory institution set up by an Act of Parliament to regulate telecommunications entities operating within the country.
By virtue of its significant roles that it continues to play, NATCOM is a very instrumental appendage for overall national development. At this material time NATCOM needs a Chairman who is a team player and more importantly someone who can efficiently raise much needed revenue in line with the two dedicated brains in the persons of Maxwell Massaquoi as Director-General and Daniel Kaitibi as the Deputy Director General.
The viability of NATCOM largely hinges on its Chairman who is always a Presidential nominee that must be approved by Parliament. Mohamed Fouad Sheriff was recently appointed by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio to serve as the new Chairman of NATCOM, subject to Parliamentary approval.
For those who know the proposed NATCOM Chairman, they will honestly certainly agree that Fouad Sheriff is indeed suitable and fit to head NATCOM and that his appointment is not a mistake.
One thing that is distinct about the Bio led SLPP Government is the appointment of highly educated individuals and professionals to key positions whom the populace confidently believes have the wherewithal to deliver as per their mandates and responsibilities. The proposed NATCOM Chairman fits well into this category.
Mohamed Fouad Sheriff is a Sierra Leonean who holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors degree and a Master of Technology in Aquaculture with vast experience in Fisheries Planning, Fisheries Management and Project Management.
Besides, he has over the years bagged a lot of prestigious certificates in the United Kingdom, United States of America and in Africa, lending credence to his penchant to acquire more knowledge. Sheriff has worked extensively in Sierra Leone and acquired a vast wealth of knowledge in different roles based on his work experiences.
He is a true patriot who prefers to contribute to his country’s strides to overcome national development challenges instead of using his enviable qualifications to bask in lucrative jobs overseas as others do.
He hails from Southern Sierra Leone, a Muslim, married with five children.
Graduating as an excellent student, Sheriff was appointed as Research Assistant in the Botany Department at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone from 1976 to 1978. His responsibilities include but not limited to direct and conduct practical for 1st year to Honors and to lecturing years 1, 2 and 3 students in Botany.
The proposed NATCOM Chairman was Senior Project Officer, Oyster Culture Project (IDRC/GOSL) from 1978 to 1985 during which time he conducted trials with various culture methods, trails for seed collection, growth and Biological Studies, seed monitoring, collection and growth as well as report writing.
He served as Fish Culture Extension Officer from 1985 to 1987 and his responsibilities included fish pond construction in inland valley swamps in North-Western Sierra Leone, seed production and distribution to pond fish farmers as well as training fish farmers in pond construction and management.
1987 to 1989 he was Project Manager, EU/GOSL Kambia Fisheries Project where he prepared annual work program and supervision of its implementation, coordinated the technical assistant team project activities, managed finance, equipment and prepared reports.
As National Project Director of EU/GOSL Integrated Artisanal Fisheries and Community Development from 1989 to 1992, Sheriff excelled in preparing annual work programs, supervising implementation, coordinated and supervised individual work programs of Technical Assistance Team, prepared technical specifications for overseas purchases, monitored as well as supervised relevant tasks of the Monitoring Control and Evaluation Unit together with co-management of project’s equipment and finances.
Working as Principal Fisheries Officer within 1993 to 1997, he was responsible for fish and fishery product health inspection onshore and onboard fishing vessels. Also, he inspected fish receiving facilities including fish processing plants and supervised recorders on board licensed fishing vessels apart from overseeing log books of industrial fishing vessels. He played key roles as Assistant Director of Fisheries, Deputy Director of Fisheries, Director of Fisheries and Marine Resources. In all those capacities he made indelible marks that impressed all his supervisors and donor partners.
He also serves as the Internal Auditor of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), auditing the finances, income and expenditure of the party. He has been very actively participated in all party activities.
Fouad Sheriff has to his credit field experiments in brackish water ponds in Nigeria (1981), a publication titled “Aquaculture in Sierra Leone: An Overview of Status & Potentials (1983), “Traditional Fishing Technologies in the Pujehun District”, “Artisanal Fisheries in Sierra Leone: A Strategy for Sustainable Development” (1991).
Some may want to question why appoint someone with impressive qualifications in Fisheries to regulate the telecommunications industry as Chairman of NATCOM.
The answer is simple. An individual like Mohamed Fouad Sheriff who has the pedigree to manage any institution, with his vast wealth of long standing experiences he has acquired over the years, can easily manage or oversee activities of that institution and make NATCOM more functional.
He has worked with different stakeholders both at home as well as abroad not to talk of a host of members of staff in different institutions and professionals which places him at a very vantage position to effectively manage and lead.
If Fouad Sheriff could effectively manage projects and individuals within the fisheries industry, where it is so difficult to perform managerial functions, then there is no iota of doubt that he will do so exceptionally well as NATCOM Chairman.
NATCOM could not be any exception to be perfectly managed by an individual who has a Midas touch that turns anything to gold.
In a snap interview with Maxwell Massaquoi and Daniel Kaitibi, NATCOM Director General and Deputy Director General respectively, they sincerely intimated that from what they know about the newly appointed Chairman, it is certain that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Things are going to work out smoothly and new initiatives will be rolled out to make NATCOM more strategic and relevant to the country’s development trajectory. We are ready to work with anybody who is focused and exactly knows how to work selflessly with any dedicated to fast track national growth,” both affirmed, adding that there are many good things that could be accomplished through effective teamwork.
Thus, it will be an understatement to say that Fouad Sheriff is fit and poised to take NATCOM to higher heights when approved as the substantive NATCOM Chairman.