Opinion

IMANI’s GVG concerns verge on patriotic paranoia

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that IMANI-Africa’s President, Franklin Cudjoe, has the utmost interest of the nation at heart, especially regarding how deals are struck, contractually, by our elected policymakers. But at times the man comes off to me as rather too aggressive to a fault, although one can equally appreciate the potentially wasteful contractual ventures into which some of our policymakers and executers have entered, on behalf of the Ghanaian taxpayer and citizen, with multinational corporations like the company called Kelni GVG, which has reportedly been offered a contract worth $ 89 Million to strictly and rigidly monitor the volume of business conducted by such telecommunications companies as MTN and GLO for tax revenue purposes (See “Government Chasing $ 1 Billion Revenue with $ 89 Million Contract But IMANI Cries Foul” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 5/21/18).

In principle, I agree with Mr. Cudjoe that the Akufo-Addo Administration may have taken a gamble with GVG that may end up not to have paid off, especially when one reckons the fact that previous agreements struck between telecommunications monitoring firms like Afriwave and Subah Infosolutions by the Mills-Mahama-led regimes of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had not paid off as expected and, in fact, resulted in the Ghanaian taxpayer’s being stuck with a debt that did not make a tad bit of sense, to speak much less about downright criminality. And this is why one would have preferred that the full-payment of the $ 89 Million contractually awarded the Haiti-based GVG ought to have been conditionally predicated on the bottom-line of the realization of at least $ 1 Billion in liquid-cash revenue accruing to the State.

In theory, though, just under 10-percent of the value of the contractually projected sum being awarded to GVG for work well done, would not the least bit be all that bad at all, except, of course, for the fact that we don’t know whether GVG is apt to acquit itself creditably in the long run. Of course, we also know that Subah Infosolutions had not acquitted itself creditably because of the inordinate ethno-regional cronyism that characterized the entire policy culture of the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress. The same situation, of course, pertained to Afriwave. The one credibility problem that the IMANI-Africa President needs to promptly address, has to do with his very serious allegation that GVG had performed so poorly that it had been literally chased out of the East-African nation of Tanzania.

Well, as it turns out, at least according to the testimony of the Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah, actually quite the very opposite has been the case with GVG in Tanzania. According to Mr. Andah, indeed, so successful has GVG performed that the company’s contract has actually been renewed. As well, Mr. Andah tells us that GVG has equally creditably performed in Liberia and Senegal. If truth and/or factual reality turns out to be in favor of the Deputy Communications Minister, rather than IMANI-Africa’s Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, the latter is almost apt to be defending his credibility and integrity for quite a while.

As for the rather abjectly naïve and facile idea, floated by Mr. Cudjoe, that merely reducing calling rates or fees would automatically deeply cut into the high incidence of SIM-Box Fraud, it is just that. Indeed, even as Mr. Andah perspicuously observed, just the other day, SIM-Box Fraudsters operate by disparate, rather than a uniformed, set of principles and motivations, of which exorbitant calling rates may only be just the most obvious. Even so, one cannot ignore the very disturbing fact that when it comes to the aggressive and voracious, or greedy, attitude towards revenue collection, there is scarcely any difference between the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the erstwhile ruling National Democratic Congress. Something substantive has to change for the better on this front.
Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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