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Business News of Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Source: Bernard Ralph Adams, Contributor

Mahama played major role in telecom reforms - Ato Sarpong

A former Deputy Communications Minister, Mr Edward Ato Sarpong, has hailed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) presidential candidate, John Mahama, for his selfless service in transforming the face of the telecommunications industry in Ghana.

Celebrating Mr. Mahama for his policy initiatives, Ato Sarpong said the former President "began the reforms in the industry and led to the decoupling of Ghana Post and Telecommunication leading to the creation of Ghana Telecom (now Vodafone)"

"A little over two decades ago, making an international call in the comfort of one’s room was just a dream. To speak to someone overseas, you had to go and book the call at Ghana Telecom, Accra Central, and be given a date to come make the call. On that day, you would join a queue and when it came to your turn, you would enter one of the booths where everyone within the hall would be privy to your conversation.

Telecommunications in Ghana was in the hands of only one entity – the Ghana Post and Telecommunications Company – a giant, very deeply asleep, underutilising its resource base and feeding off the little revenue generated by the state."

"Under His Excellency President John Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana, but then as Deputy Communication Minister and later as Minister for Communications, major reforms were carried out in the telecommunications sector leading to the decoupling of post and courier services from telecommunications services and resulting in the Incorporation of Ghana Telecom and the promulgation of Act 505 to create the Ghana Postal Services Corporation in 1995," Ato Sarpong said.

In an article, on the theme "The Internet & Mobile Phones - Winning in a depressing world of Global Shutdowns" appreciates trailblazers in the mobile telecom industry in Ghana

"First His Excellency, the former President, John D. Mahama; for his visionary policy initiatives that began the reforms in the industry and led to the decoupling of Ghana Post and Telecommunication leading to the creation of Ghana Telecom (now Vodafone), the creation of a second operator –Westel (Now merged with Tigo forming Aitel/Tigo) and the deregulation of the sector resulting in the licensing and authorisation of mobile network operators and many internet service providers."

"If there is anyone person who has influenced the telecommunications sector the most and engraved his works on the sands of time, that person must be His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana and current flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress [NDC]. Under his leadership, initially, as a Deputy Minister and subsequently, as a Minister of Communications, various critical reforms needed for the sector were carried out."

"As Vice-President and later President, investments were made in strategic telecommunications infrastructure needed to expand and to ensure that quality services were made available to all Ghanaians. These interventions also served as enablers for economic activities in the telecommunications sector."

He highlighted some major strategic projects conceptualised and implemented under the leadership of former President Mahama.


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