DTT saga: Gov’t has already signed ‘sweetheart’ deal – Sam George

Sam Dzata George has rubbished claims that the National Communication Authority (NCA) is yet to sign Digital Terrestrial Television deal, DTT.

Opposed to the claim that government is now negotiating the deal with Chinese counterpart, the MP for Ningo Prampram alleges that the project is a done deal as it was signed as far back as April, 2018.

Describing the agreement as a “sweetheart deal” he said, “I want to state for the records that the Ministry of Communications has already secured Cabinet approval, EPA approval and signed a contract with StarTimes as far back as 5th April 2018!

“Why is the Ministry claiming they have not signed a contract with StarTimes yet? Why is the Ministry eager to sign a needless loan agreement with StarTimes?,” he quizzed on Facebook.

The NDC legislator accused the communications ministry of perpetrating chronically corrupt schemes design to fleece the tax payers as it did with Kelni GVG.

He has consequently warned government against the deal stressing that government should act in the interest of Ghana and not China.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) in a statement have asserted that the deal government is entering into with StarTimes amounts to ceding the country’s broadcasting space to the Chinese giant.

“If StarTimes is allowed to control both Ghana’s only digital television infrastructure and the satellite space in the name of digital migration, Ghana would have virtually submitted its broadcast space to Chinese control and content,” GIBA said.

But a Deputy Minister of Communications, George Andah, rubbished GIBA’s arguments; stating that the government has no intention to hand over control of Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to StarTimes.

The project is aimed at helping “our citizens to access TV information on national and international events and programmes that would educate and inform them; hence increasing their awareness and knowledge to improve their welfare,” the ministry said.

But GIBA believes “the Agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at profit or the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) and programmes, but a larger mandate to take over the control of the broadcast space in strategic African countries including Ghana, which is crucial for the China game…”.

But Mr Andah clarified that the deal for StarTimes is different from the migration from analogue to digital.

“The role of StarTimes in that is just enhancement and not to control or manage the project,” Mr Andah stated.

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