AirtelTigo takeover: Sam George demands detailed breakdown from Communications Minister

The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George has said in the interest of probity, transparency and accountability, the Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, must give details on the acquisition of AirtelTigo.

AirtelTigo

The NDC MP in a statement signed on Thursday, April 22, 2021, said Ghanaians deserve further information on the intricacies of the transfer of shares.

The Government of Ghana, Airtel, and Tigo concluded the discussions for the transfer of AirtelTigo shares to the Ghanaian government along with all customers, assets, and agreed liabilities.

"The parties are in advance stages of discussions for the conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the Government of Ghana," Airtel said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange in India.

The proposed deal would result in the government of Ghana acquiring 100% shares of Airtel Ghana Ltd, also known as AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets, and agreed liabilities.

"Accordingly, Airtel is voluntarily taking an impairment charge of Rs 1,841 million (Rs 184 crore)," the statement added.

AirtelTigo is a joint venture between 'Airtel' and 'Millicom' wherein Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95% share in AirtelTigo.

Sam George who doubles as the Deputy ranking member on the committee said the deal raises questions about the condition of workers and others issues which makes it prudent for the sector minister to give explanations to the committee.

He said "I side with most Ghanaians who are requesting assurances that the fate of AirtelTigo will not be similar to most government parastatals, underpinned by negligence, inefficiency, and drastic financial meltdown. Quite clearly, the bedrock relevance of ICT to the transformation of Ghana's economic development agenda cannot be over-emphasised as evident from the recent global epidemic."

He stated that even though the purchase has the potentials of skyrocketing the country’s digital transformation drive and economic development, the government must be transparent.

He said: "I am convinced that with a clear and concrete strategy driven by professionals and support by regulatory congruence, AirtelTigo can be turned around to enhance healthy competition within the ICT industry to the ultimate benefit of Ghanaians.

"Unfortunately, the circumstances leading to the actions emanating thereafter and the plan of action for a quick revamp of AirtelTigo has been shrouded in secrecy and sometimes contradictory.

"This development is rather unfortunate as we would expect transparency in such a major development that has economic and financial implications for the Ghanaian people."

He also disclosed that per the provisions of Article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which give committees of Parliament the power to probe the activities and administration of ministries and other government departments when the need be, as the Deputy Ranking Member of Parliamentary Select Committee on Communication.

He "indicated to the leadership my intention to, as a matter of urgency, call for an emergency meeting between the Committee and the Ministry to get a thorough, detailed briefing on the modalities of the alleged purchase, the economic state of AirtelTigo, issues regarding the status and welfare of Ghanaian workers of AirtelTigo and to understand the intention of the Ministry with regard to the long-term plans for the company."

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