Ursula Owusu To Be Invited By Parliament Over AirtelTigo Deal

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Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram Samuel Nartey George has said the Communications Committee of Parliament are going to be inviting the Minister of Communications to answer some questions concerning the AirtelTigo agreement with the govt of Ghana over the transfer of ownership of the corporate .

Sam George who is Deputy ranking member on the committee told Nana Akua Aborampah Mensah on the recent Edition on 3FM Friday, April 16 the deal raises questions on the condition of workers et al. issues which makes it prudent for the world minister to offer explanations to the committee.

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has assured that the interest of workers, customers, contractors, suppliers, stakeholders are going to be protected after the govt of Ghana and mother companies of AirtelTigo, Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V., and MIC Africa B.V signed an agreement to transfer the shares to the Ghana Government.

Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful signed on behalf of the govt of Ghana, while Ms. Jatina Catharina Uneken-van de Vreede, Mr. Martin P Frechette, Mr. Timothy Pennington, Mr. Eric Nana Nipah, and Mr. Vish Ashiagbor signed on behalf of the vendor entities.

“We consider this a positive step because it adds to the growing portfolio of digital infrastructure assets being utilized by the govt ,” a government statement said.

“Government will operate this national asset within the best interest of the state , the corporate , telecommunications industry, and make sure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, stakeholders and sustain the digital transformation of Ghana.”

In October 2020, Airtel and Millicom announced that they were exiting the Ghanaian market and this agreement concludes the extensive negotiations between the parties to make sure a seamless transition and continued operation of AirtelTigo thereafter.

“The telecommunications sector is of strategic importance to the govt , and it’s critical the world remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant, and most significantly , competitive.

“We are determined to form Ghana the digital hub of the subregion and this acquisition may be a step within the right direction,” the govt said during a statement.

But Sam George said further explanations are needed on this agreement.

“We are getting to be inviting the Minister to the committee to throw more lights on the small print of this deal to the parliamentary committee because this is often getting to be at cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer.

“We got to make certain , guided by the history of state of Ghana within the telecom space, don’t forget what you recognize as Vodafone today wont to be Ghana telecom and it wont to be owned by government and government had failed severally to manage that asset well leading us to where we’ve gotten to today,” he said.

He added “AirtelTigo, the govt wont to have shares in it. As recently as two years ago AitelTigo told us that the govt had did not pay its a part of the cash that was needed for capital expansions.

“…So now the govt is taking up the entire assets, it’s getting to be interesting for us to ascertain how we will hold the govt to account on the requisite level of investment that’s needed to stay telco highly competitive.

“The other angle are going to be the conditions of the Ghanaians workers in there. That on behalf of me is that the most primary issue. As recently as 72 hours, ago there was agitation over bonuses and salary increment for 3 years the workers there had not seen any salary increment.

“My understanding is that before this signing was done some indications of approval got by the board, to be taken care of. we’ll want to ascertain the implementation of that by the govt because the govt takes over assets and liability, we’ll also want to ascertain what happens to staff strength, are there getting to be retrenchment? Are there getting to be layoffs, we’d like to be minded by all of those .”