Some Ghanaian journalists are expressing their strong
displeasure after President John Kufuor's government re-echoed its intention of
selling telecommunications giant Ghana Telecom. This comes after the government
held a news conference Tuesday to tell Ghanaians about selling the company at a
cost of $900 million to Vodafone a British based Telecommunication Company. The
government said the sale was necessary in order to recapitalize Ghana Telecom
to make it more viable and locally competitive.
adds that it needs money to inject into the economy after it experienced shock
over increasing oil and food prices. But the journalist sharply differed with
the government and described the sale as "selling out Ghana's most treasured
and strategic asset for peanuts". Aggrey Ntim is Ghana's communication
minister. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Accra that the sale
is the best thing for Ghanaians.
we need to re-capitalize Ghana Telecom and make it possible for the company to
revamp its operations so that they can compete with the other companies in this
country. The second thing is that for a long time this company has been losing
resources because it has been put in a position where indeed it could not bring
technology. It could not innovate. And because of that, it has gone down, and
there was need to raise its level of operation. Thirdly, because all the other
operators have international partners, they need less to invest in their
operations because whatever they do is done at the global level as compared to
Ghana Telecom, where everything they do is localized, and therefore their cost
becomes prohibitive," Aggrey Ntim noted.
said the government looked into various choices before deciding on the sale of
have looked at several options and indeed this exercise did not start
yesterday. It was two years ago that government took a policy decision to
privatize public companies in which it has interest I am now referring to
Westel and Ghana Telecom, and since that time we have been looking at different
options. Indeed there was a time when Ghana Telecom actually undertook some
bonds for funding to try and see whether it would help. Well, that did not
help. From the lessons that we have learned from both at the time of the
Malaysians as well as Telenol, we are now moving into this new agreement, which
takes care of all deficiencies of all the problems in order to come up with a
solution," he said.
Ntim said government's decision to sell Ghana Telecom is the best decision ever
to be made by President Kufuor's administration.
am convinced and that is why we are offloading the shares of Ghana Telecom. And
don't forget, when this government came in, they actually announced a policy to
privatize and make the private sector a partner in the engine of growth. It is
also in that direction that participation between public and private for the
running of the country's economy is the best solution in this era for Ghana,"
Aggrey Ntim pointed out.
parliament has yet to ratify the sale agreement officially, as opposing
political parties are warning government to refrain from selling Ghana Telecom.