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Business News of Wednesday, 8 January 2003

Source: Graphic

Govt concludes pact with Telenor

THE government has concluded a Management Services Agreement with Messrs Telenor of Norway for the management of Ghana Telecommunications (Ghana Telecom) Company Limited.

Under the agreement, Telenor will implement a business plan that will enable Ghana Telecom to deliver more efficient services and reach out to areas where its services have not been extended.

The new management is expected in the country before the end of this month.

Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Minister of Communications and Technology, said in an interview in Accra yesterday that the management agreement will be for a minimum period of three years and will be subject for a review annually.

He said the signing of the agreement follows the government's acceptance of a comprehensive business plan it contracted the company to put in place.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the plan involved the installation of telephone lines in all parts of the country within the next couple of years, and improvement in the infrastructural and financial base of Ghana Telecom.

?Unlike other businesses where many workers are laid off with the coming of a new management, particularly when a foreign management takes over a company, it is estimated that the staff strength of Ghana Telecom will increase from the present 3,900 to 6,000 by the end of the period,? he said.

According to him, the government has also proposed that in the first year of the implementation of the plan, telephone lines will be extended to all the border towns in the country to help check smuggling and other criminal activities in those areas.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the proposals indicate that priority attention will be given to all community learning centres, one in each region.

He said it is also envisaged that within the first year, all existing telephone infrastructure in the country's universities will be upgraded.

?The government is also of the view that all senior secondary schools and teacher training colleges in the country should have telephone facilities,? he said.

The minister said this is in line with the government's policy of ensuring that educational facilities are provided with Internet services to enable the students to become computer literate.

Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the government has played its part as the lead shareholder in Ghana Telecom by ensuring the best deal to make the company live up to expectation.

The government selected Messrs Telenor as a strategic investor in Ghana Telecom following the failure of Telekom Malaysia to deliver to expectation.

A source close to Ghana Telecom has revealed that Telekom Malaysia continues to maintain its 30 per cent shares in Ghana Telecom.

It said the stakeholders in the company, that is, the government and Telekom Malaysia, are negotiating the value and sale of the shares.