General News of Thursday, 31 May 2018
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has appeared before the Parliament of Ghana to answer questions concerning the controversial Kelni GVG deal signed between the Government of Ghana and Haitian firm Kelni GVG to desist from the act.
She bemoans that the apprehension surrounding the Kelni Global Voice Group (GVG) deal is totally unnecessary.
She told members of parliament that the National Communications Authority (NCA) contracted the services of GVG in 2009 to monitor the Inbound International Traffic to ensure government received the required tax revenues.
She said GVG was also required to manage fraud on the network to reduce the incidence of traffic bypass (SIM Box) since that also had an adverse impact on Government revenues.
“There was strident opposition to this move by the GOG, spearheaded by the mobile network operators which resulted in several lawsuits. They cited security of their network installations and privacy concerns primarily, but their main motivation may have been their unwillingness for GOG to have full visibility of their actual traffic volumes to determine the real taxes payable on the revenues earned from them,” she added.
The MP for Ablekuma West Constituency noted that “following sustained pressure, GVG was compelled to terminate their operations in Ghana a year before their contract expired and the contract was taken over by Subah Infosolutions Limited in 2012.”
The GRA according to her, also engaged Subah to perform domestic traffic monitoring though it had no previous experience in telecoms revenue assurance.
“After Subah took over the GVG Contract, they continued to monitor both Local and Inbound International Traffic for the National Communications Authority and Ghana Revenue Authority.”
This, the minister said was not on real time basis, as data was only collected from the servers of the Mobile Network Operators.
She said the network operators persisted in denying these companies the right to connect to their physical network nodes to collect the raw data for analysis.
Kelni GVG, a Haitian originated company, was awarded a contract by the government for design, development and implementation of a common platform for traffic monitoring, revenue assurance, and mobile money monitoring and fraud management, a service already being rendered by Afriwave and Subah Info Solution.
IMANI African has however questioned the rationale behind the new contract with Kelni GVG, describing it as wasteful and aimed at milking the public purse.
According to the policy think tank group, reasons espoused by government officials to back the deal lack financial sense except that it was premised on political thinking.
Although government insists the deal saves the country $1.1 million a month, Franklin Cudjoe wonders why the state has been paying the firm $1.5 million per month since January for “no work done”. To him, the deal is “needless” and a rip-off.
Mr. Cudjoe further revealed that “the Tax Justice Network has issued a statement displeased with the responses from the supervising ministry”.
Watch live proceedings in Parliament