Communications Ministry cannot be trusted – Suleimana Braimah
Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has said the Communications Ministry is not trustworthy.
Mr Braimah says the Ministry has done a poor job with how it has handled the Kelni-GVG and the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) agreements.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Current Affairs show, Burning Issues, Monday, Mr Braimah said: “The Ministry has proven that if they say something and you take it as they say it, sometimes you could be wrong.”
“From Kelni GVG to this StarTimes, most of the things when you listen, today they say this and tomorrow that, where StarTimes comes in regarding the Digital Migration, Minister says there is no contract, the deputy says there’s MoU and you ask yourself, what’s the difference between MoU and a contract?”, he quizzed.
He added: “And even on the Kelni-GVG issue, when they were asked to present a contract they signed themselves, they said we should give them six months,” Mr Braimah indicated.
The government of Ghana signed a $95 million deal with the Chinese company, StarTimes to supply and install the DTT network platform for Ghana.
But the contract with StarTimes was later abrogated over what then Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, said was due to “failure of the company to secure the necessary funding from the China Exim Bank to execute the project.”
The government then awarded the digital migration contract to K-NET, a Ghanaian-owned company, but K-NET’s work on the project was halted after StarTimes sued the government of Ghana for what it described as the unfair abrogation of their contract with the State.
The deadline for the migration from analogue to digital has already suffered three postponements.
Although the global deadline is 2020, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) urged governments to migrate from analogue broadcasting to digital by June 2015, which Ghana could not meet and so rescheduled to June 2016, which it failed again to achieve.
September 21, 2017, became the new deadline but that was also missed and so the government pushed the country’s full migration to 2018, which is already nine months old.
Meanwhile, Deputy Ranking Member of Parliaments Select Committee on Communication, Daniel Kwasi Ashiamah, speaking on the same show said Parliament is not aware of the contract between StarTimes and the Communications Ministry.
“If the Minister is listening to me, the issue has not or never been presented to the Committee and I can beat my chest to that because I don’t fail any Committee meeting,” he said.
He expressed so much worry that the Committee which is supposed to educate the public on such issues instead gets information on it through the media.
According to the MP for Buem, the Constitution requires the Communications Ministry to present the agreement to Parliament to get them informed about the details of the issue but has not done that.