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Government threat to telcos proof GVG deal stinks – Franklin Cudjoe

IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, senses a little confusion from the government over the controversial Common Platform operated by Kelni GVG.

This is after the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, warned of sanctions for the telecommunications companies that do sign onto the Common Platform.

Mr. Cudjoe stated that the threatening tone of the Communications Minister to telcos exposes claims that telcos support the $89 million deal.

“In one breath, they [government] seem to be saying that all the telcos have signed up, they are happy, and they have had conversations with them.”

But according to him, during the minister’s statement in Parliament on Thursday, “it was as if there were fire and brimstone.”

The threat of sanctions “clearly shows that we are not even aligned regarding our advocacy,” Mr Cudjoe said.

He has long called for the cancellation of this contract which he said is going to be an albatross around President Akufo-Addo’s head.

“I don’t think President Nana Addo will yield to this contract because the contract smells and stinks and doesn’t hold up for proper transparency. It is sad, very very sad.”

The implementation of the Common Platform is in line with the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864.

But there have been suggestions that telcos are not pleased with this deal.

Some observers have also raised concerns about the privacy of callers’ data.

A lot of the criticism of the deal, which is costing Ghana $89 million, has come from think tank IMANI Africa.

IMANI also raised the privacy concerns while questioning the credibility of Kelni GVG.

But in Parliament, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful rejected accusations of corruption and underhand dealings in the award of the revenue assurance monitoring contract to Kelni-GVG.

A Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah, also assured that there were no significant concerns from telcos despite IMANI’s assertions.

“The first point that they [telcos] keep on making is that we are not against the principle of establishing a common monitoring platform and that we are doing everything to make sure that this is happening. There is no resistance from any telco. There is absolutely no resistance from any telcos. There are certain concerns about security and privacy, and at the meeting on Thursday, we gave them every assurance.”

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