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Business News of Thursday, 14 June 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Telcos complete installation of Kelni GVG servers

Alla Ursula Owusu Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications

The Ministry of Communications says it has completed the installation of servers at the various data centres of mobile networks for the implementation of the revenue monitoring Common Platform.

The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, a couple of weeks ago, had given the mobile network operators (MNOs) a final deadline of Monday, June 11, 2018, to connect to the $179-million contract awarded to Kelni GVG, a private company, to monitor call traffic.

But a statement issued and signed by the Mrs Owusu-Ekuful on Monday said the MNOs have complied with the directive and what is to follow is testing and transmission, which are at various stages of completion.

“… Following a meeting with MNO Chief Executive Officers, I am happy to announce that they are all cooperating with the NCA, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and their contractors to implement the CMP,” the statement said.

The statement noted, however, that some changes have been made to the original technical specifications of the servers to address the privacy concerns raised by the mobile network operators.

“A filtering server and mirroring installation have been included to ensure that only the signalling information needed for the purposes of traffic monitoring will be received by the NCA and GRA. No other information -either voice, SMS, video or data, will be received by KelniGVG servers.”

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, and other civil society organisations have waged a relentless crusade against the $179-million Kelni GVG contract, describing it as needless and overpriced.

The opposers claim that the government did not do any value for money audit before awarding the contract, with the hope of exposing telecom operators which, it suspected, to be unfaithful with the traffic and revenue figures.

But Mrs Owusu-Ekuful has defended the contract with Kelni GVG, arguing forcefully that it was in compliance with the Communication Service (Amendment) Act passed in 2013.

In order to enforce the monitoring regime, a new law, the Communication Service Tax Amendment Act was passed in 2013.

The law, among other things, is to “establish a monitoring mechanism to verify the actual revenue that accrues to vendors for the purpose of computing taxes due the government under this act and be given physical access to the physical network nodes of the vendors' network at an equivalent point in the network where the network providers' billing systems are connected”.