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General News of Friday, 1 June 2018


We will sanction Telcos that shun GVG Common Platform – Ursula warns

Telecommunications companies that do no connect to the Common Platform operated by Kelni GVG by June 11, 2017, will face sanctions.

The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the government would not hesitate in punishing the telcos that fail to adhere to the process.

The implementation of the Common Platform is in line with the Communication Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 864. In a statement to Parliament on Thursday, the minister indicated that two telcos are in the process of being connected.

“I am happy to announce that Vodafone and Glo are in the process of being connected as we speak. The others are expected to be connected by the 11th of June. Any operator who fails to comply will be sanctioned.”

Speaking to Citi News after the statement, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said there was now no longer any room for any challenges from telcos.

“They cannot have any legal objection to the execution of this exercise. They have up until the 11th of June to connect to this platform or the sanctions will kick in.”

“I can look them in the eye and say that we will enforce those sanctions,” the minister stated.

There have been suggestions that telcos are not pleased with the 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.

But the Communications Ministry insists that these fears have been assuaged.

A Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah, has assured that there were no major 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.”

IMANI Africa first sounded an alarm over the details of the deal and called for its immediate termination.

Its president, Franklin Cudjoe, argued that the agreement mirrored the controversial agreements the state entered into with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

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

“Ghanaians will have their data threatened if they allow this GVG company to play with their phone calls, chats, everything. Mind you; this is a company with a website that is so vague it is phoney, with very strange characters behind it since all it has, for a security company of its pedigree, are stock photos,” he said on The Big Issue in May.

But the government maintains that the accusations of corruption and underhand dealings are needless.