From left: OPK, Appietu-Ankrah and Asante
Pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), says it has been vindicated by government’s introduction of an Interconnection Clearing House (ICH) to monitor the operations of telecommunications companies in the country.
According to AFAG, ICH would serve as a monitoring policy that would help in addressing the issue of revenue monitoring, transparency and accountability among the telecom companies.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Henry Asante, AFAG’s Vice Chairman, indicated that the group has over the past seven years been concerned about the liberty of telecom companies to charge their own interconnect fees, which alienated those with smaller market shares.
“We are consistent in our quest to see the telcos show an appreciable level of transparency, accountability and a commitment to effective service provision,” he noted.
Mr Asante said AFAG was interested in the multifaceted benefits that Ghanaians and government would gain.
“AFAG feels much vindicated for supporting the introduction of Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) into Ghana’s telecommunication sector. Our interest is how much would come to government. The ICH has multifaceted benefits like competitiveness in the industry. It also helps the smaller companies who hitherto could not operate at full scale to be privy to what pertains,” he said.
He disclosed that the ICH would devolve some powers from the telcos, especially with regards to interconnectivity pricing, full disclosure of call volumes by the telcos, avoid tax evasion, eliminate SIM Box fraud and also increase the number of telcos in the industry.
Though several civil society groups had protested against the manner in which Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited won the contract, Mr Asante stated that AFAG was not concerned about who won the bid.
“Our basic argument is not about who wins the bid or not. We are gratified by the fact that a least five companies saw the need to involve themselves in the bidding that clearly tells you that Ghanaians have accepted the Interconnect Clearing House (ICH) policy. Indeed, whether Subah or GVG, AFAG is happy these competitors expressed equal interest in the concept of ICH. This notwithstanding, the NCA should endeavor to protect existing active players in the industry,” he added.
AFAG, however, urged NCA to be transparent and fair to stakeholders.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh