The Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Communication Committee, Mr Samuel Nartey George, has asked the Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, to provide in-depth details on the modalities surrounding the government’s takeover of telecommunication company AirtelTigo.
The government of Ghana and the parent companies of AirtelTigo, Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V., MIC Africa B.V, on 16 April 2021, concluded negotiations and signed an agreement to transfer the shares of the company to the Ghana government following the announcement of the company’s departure from the Ghanaian market last year.
This agreement transfers all customers, assets and agreed liabilities of AirtelTigo to the Government of Ghana.
“We consider this a positive step as it adds to the growing portfolio of digital infrastructure assets being utilised by the government”, a statement signed by Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications & Digitalisation said.
The statement said the government “will operate this national asset in the best interest of the nation, the company, telecommunications industry, and ensure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, stakeholders and sustain the digital transformation of Ghana”.
But the Ningo Prampram constituency lawmaker, in a statement signed on Thursday, 22 April 2021, indicated that Ghanaians deserve further information on the intricacies of the transfer of shares.
“I side with most Ghanaians who are requesting assurances that the fate of AirtelTigo will not be similar to most government parastatals, underpinned by negligence, inefficiency and drastic financial meltdown. Quite clearly, the bedrock relevance of ICT to the transformation of Ghana’s economic development agenda cannot be overemphasised as evident from the recent global epidemic,” the statement noted.
According to him, even though the purchase has the potentials of skyrocketing the country’s digital transformation drive and economic development, the government must be transparent.
“I am convinced that with a clear and concrete strategy driven by professionals and support by regulatory congruence, AirtelTigo can be turned around to enhance healthy competition within the ICT industry to the ultimate benefit of Ghanaians.
“Unfortunately, the circumstances leading to the actions emanating thereafter and the plan of action for a quick revamp of AirtelTigo has been shrouded in secrecy and sometimes contradictory.
“This development is rather unfortunate as we would expect transparency in such a major development that has economic and financial implications for the Ghanaian people,” he added.
Mr Nartey George, therefore, disclosed that per the provisions of Article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which give committees of Parliament the power to probe the activities and administration of ministries and other governmental departments when the need be, as the Deputy Ranking Member of Parliamentary Select Committee on Communication, he has “indicated to the leadership my intention to, as a matter of urgency, call for an emergency meeting between the Committee and the Ministry to get a thorough, detailed briefing on the modalities of the alleged purchase, the economic state of AirtelTigo, issues regarding the status and welfare of Ghanaian workers of AirtelTigo and to understand the intention of the Ministry with regard to the long-term plans for the company”.
Read full statement below: