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Politics of Thursday, 17 July 2008

Source: GNA

Nduom, CPP against sale of shares of Ghana Telecom

Accra, July 17, GNA - Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, Flagbearer of Convention People's Party (CPP) and some leading Members of the Party, at separate press conferences at Parliament House have registered their opposition against Government's intention to sell 70 per cent shares in Ghana Telecom (GT). Barely an hour after Dr Nduom's press conference, the other leading members, constituting a group called Ghanaians Against the Sale of Ghana Telecom, also held a press conference and presented a four-point-petition to the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu.

Dr Nduom had vehemently opposed the proposed sale of shares of GT, explaining that "this is not the time to sell an important national asset like GT. "I'm not opposing the sale of the shares for the sake of it, but Ghanaians must be given the chance to buy shares, which floated on the Ghana Stock Exchange" Dr Nduom said Government must listen to opposing views and not rush to push the sale through Parliament when it would be left with some few days to go on recess.

A Provisional Order of Parliament has slated the paper on the proposed sale of the GT shares, the motion and its consequential resolution, as well as ratification for July 18, the day scheduled for the House to rise. Dr Ndoum said he was sure some Members of the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) were against the sale, and that should there be a secret voting, they would vote against it, and expressed strong fears that the Majority was likely to whip their members to vote 'aye' in an open ballot for the sale.

The CPP Flagbearer said such a situation would only subject Parliament to public ridicule, and Ghanaians "would be raining insults on Parliamentarians for taking such a decision".

Citing Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and State Insurance Company, Dr Nduom said Ghanaians could manage national assets well and advocated that if there should be any sale of shares, they should be floated on the Ghana Stock Exchange for fairness. The Ghanaians against the Sale of Ghana Telecom, led by Mr Bright Akwetey, a Legal Practitioner and member of CPP, said they considered Government's action to be a betrayal of the independence ideal that the 'Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs. "It is a further throwback to an era where foreign companies dominated the Ghanaian economy. That was the period of colonialism. "The CPP is not against foreign investment. but we have insisted that such investment should supplement, rather than supplant our efforts.

\"The impending takeover by the British company Vodafone of Ghana Telecom and allied strategic assets undermines this noble objective of all those who fought for our independence." The petition condemned the rushing of bills and agreements through Parliament, and added that even though the sale were desirable, the absence of specific and monitoring of targets complete with a schedule of penalties for non performance, showed that Government had been less than scrupulous in the handling of the intended sale. "The sale represents nothing short of a give-away for a pittance assets that have the potential to generate billions of dollars in profit for the Government and people of Ghana, instead of the 900 million dollars that Vodafone is offering," the petition said.

Alhaji Yakubu receiving the petition said Parliament was for the people and the voice of the people and had ears. He said the matter would be considered and views of the group would be taken into consideration. The petition was jointly signed by Mr Kosi Dedey, Mr Kwame Jantuah, Naa Kordei Assimeh, Susan Adu-Amankwah, Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Sylvia Koblah, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Mr Bright Akwetey, Abdulai Salami and George A. Mensah all leading members of CPP.

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