The Ghanaian government has decided to dispense with Telenor, a Norwegian company that manages Ghana telecommunication (GT) and employs about 22 expatriate workers there. This follows an intense public outrage after it was alleged that for the past three years, Ghanaian taxpayers coughed out over forty three million dollars to pay the expatriates.
Albert Don Chebi is the head of corporate communications at Ghana telecommunications. He talks about the decision to dispense with the services of the expatriate workers.
“In 2003, the government of Ghana signed a management services agreement with telecom management partners to manage Ghana telecom for three years. This agreement expired on 31 December 2005 and since 2006 the two parties have been negotiating. Early this morning, the board of Ghana telecom met and decided that the contract would not be renewed…They were given three weeks to wind up their operation and hand over to a Ghanaian interim management that has been appointed to take over from them, ” he said.
Don Chebi said that the expatriate management team was given a period within which to manage the state owned company while a Ghanaian team understudies them.
“It has always been on the cards that the expatriates would not be here forever. They were a management services team put together to run the company over a period after the Malaysian team left and it was always agreed that at a certain point in time, a Ghanaian team, which was understudying them all this while would take over,” Don Chebi noted.
Don Chebi continued, “ You would recall that the first agreement was a three year agreement which ended on 31 December 2005. At that point, it was decided to negotiate a shorter arrangement still thinking that a Ghanaian team could take over and also with the prospect of the company being privatized in mind,” Chebi said.
He said a section of Ghanaians were not happy with the arrangement at the state owned telecommunications company. But he added that the agreement benefited the company.
“The management agreement has been subject to scrutiny from day one. The so-called bad publicity has always been there. From the beginning a section of the public and the media has kicked against the terms of the agreement. But it has delivered some benefits to the company,” he said.
Don Chebi said plans are advanced to privatize the state owned company.
“The process has begun and the transactional advisor is being selected and when he is selected, he is supposed to take care and superintend the process of privatizing Ghana telecom. And this exercise is supposed to be concluded by June 2007,” Chebi said.
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