Government ready to sanction mobile operators – Minister

Accra- Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, has warned that mobile network operators who failed to connect to the Common Platform for Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring after the expiry of the June 11 deadline, would be sanctioned.

She said government would not accept any excuses or reasons from the mobile network operators after the June 11, 2018 deadline, for failure to connect to the Platform.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful gave the warning after delivering a statement in Parliament in response to summons by the Speaker of Parliament.

She appeared before Parliament to brief the House on the Kelni-GVG deal signed in December 2017. The five-year 89 million-dollar contract may be renewed subject to stated conditions being fulfilled.

The Kelni-GVG contract has been questioned by some critics who say the deal seems to have been tainted with some underhand dealings.

President of Imani, Franklin Cudjoe, has been one of the leading critics in the Kelni-GVG contract, who has constantly condemned the revenue assurance deal, which is meant to monitor revenue in the telecom industry.

Although the Government insists the deal saves the country 1.1 million dollars a month, Mr Cudjoe wanted to know why the state had been paying the firm 1.5 million dollars per month since January for no work done, adding that the deal is needless and a rip-off, which ought to be terminated.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful also stated that the Government is determined to follow through with the implementation of the Common Platform for Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring, Revenue Assurance, Mobile Money Monitoring and Fraud Management.

The Ministry had already sent notices to the network operators and from that time they had seven days to seek legal redress if they disagree, she said.

She explained that after 30 days of litigation the sanctions to be imposed would be five per cent of the last declared gross revenue.

The Minister said the Government had nothing to hide and that they were prepared to subject themselves to parliamentary oversight.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said though government intended to have excellent relationship the mobile network operators, it did not want to be taken for granted or be disrespected.

She explained that the National Communications Authority (NCA) currently did not have the capability of acquiring, maintaining and sustaining the Common Platform, however it may be capable of acquiring this expertise over time.

She said for now Kelni-GVG had been contracted to build, operate and maintain the Common Platform to provide knowledge and technology transfer to the people.

In the current agreement the Platform is housed on the premises of the NCA, which was a far cry from the previous situation when this was done on the blindside of the NCA, and only given a report at the end of the month, she said.

She said Ghana was short-changed in the previous arrangement, adding that the country had learnt its lessons and had moved on.

Source: Ghana News Agency