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General News of Monday, 28 May 2018


IMANI in bed with telcos - PNF alleges

A pressure group, Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF), has accused IMANI Ghana of doing the bidding for the various telecommunications companies against the interest of the state, as far as government’s policy on the Common Platform for Telecom Revenue Assurance and Regulatory Oversight is concerned

The ministry of communications has awarded a controversial $89 million tariffs monitoring contract to Kelni GVG.

IMANI Ghana and other groups have raised issues with the contract, suggesting that there is no value for money with regard to the contract.

But a statement issued by Richard Nyamah, PNF convener, said it had “followed with dismay, the pedestrian issues raised by IMANI in general and Mr. Franklin Cudjoe in particular, with the help of the CEO of MTN Ghana against the government’s policy on the Common Platform for Telecom Revenue Assurance and Regulatory Oversight.”

Contrary to claims being put forward by IMANI, PNF explained, “The action of the minister of communications, the finance minister, GRA and NCA are in conformity with the laws of Ghana.”

“We have also seen and evaluated the key performance indicators for Kelni GVG, which include but not limited to the following: provide on real time basis, accurate measurement of the types of traffic; volume of international incoming traffic terminated in Ghana; international outgoing traffic originated from Ghana; domestic (on-net and off-net) voice traffic in Ghana; data traffic in Ghana; generate daily, monthly, quarterly and annual statistics on international incoming and outgoing traffic volumes and classifying the volumes by operators and carrier links,” according to the group.

On the issue of mobile money transfers and revenues generated therein by the operators, the group explained that Kelni GVG would be able to capture “mobile money transaction data to establish as a minimum the total value of authorised e-money in the market and the fees accruing to each operator on a monthly basis.”

PNF maintained, “This should enable government to know exactly what amount comes to it as tax revenue from the profits made by the operators.” It pointed out that the contract awarded to Kelni GVG was in the best interest of the state.

Again, PNF indicated, “On the matter of effectiveness of the common platform to monitor mobile money transactions, we found out that the system is capable of collecting data on all mobile money transactions for regulatory oversight, consumer protection and anti-money laundering purposes.”

The group added, “It is very relevant to note that terrorism, especially in the sub-Saharan African region, has been largely financed through the use of mobile money transfers.

“Examples abound in Nigeria, Somalia, Niger and Mali, just to mention but a few.

“A responsible government cannot afford to leave this area unchecked and to the whims and caprices of telecommunications companies whose main motive is profit making. With porous physical borders as we currently have, we as a nation cannot afford to leave the cyber space to terrorists to operate.”

The group wondered why the telcos seem to be worried about the move saying, “Government loses millions of dollars every year to SIM-BOX fraud and if the telecommunications companies are not complicit in these activities, we do not understand why they will be against any system that will help arrest the situation and make sure all amounts and taxes due to government are properly collected.”

The new system, it said, “is capable of doing the following: manage the tracking of international call termination, on sample basis, to detect and report the by-passing of the legally declared routes for international traffic into Ghana and to assist in blocking such numbers. By-pass calls include international PSTN calls terminating on an OTT voice application such as viber, able to localize suspicious and/or fraudulent SIM and equipment using available information from operators, including by-pass traffic information and other network elements, to search for and locate illegal SIM-BOX operators.”