CALL ON PARLIAMENT NOT TO RATIFY GT SALE AGREEMENT
Memorandum To: All Members of Parliament, Republic of Ghana
CC: The Speaker of Parliament; the Clerk of Parliament
From: Concerned Citizens Against the Sale of Ghana Telecom
Re: Call on Parliament Not to Ratify GT Sale Agreement
Honourable Members of Parliament, We, a group of concern citizens of Ghana drawn from the NGO fraternity, organized labour, faith-based organizations and individuals from diverse walks of life, write to you, in support of earlier calls made by the Trades Union Congress of Ghana, the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Christian Council of Ghana, the Convention Peoples Party, the Ghana National Party, the Reform Patriotic Democrats, Journalists for Economic and Social Justice, and many other groups and individuals, including the first Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Telecom Ebow Aggrey Mensah, two time Chief of Defense Staff of Ghana Armed Forces General Nunoo Mensah, not to ratify the GT-Vodafone deal to be laid before you today, Tuesday August, 12 for ratification.
We are convinced and deeply concern that the transaction you are about to consider is unfair, unjust, and injurious to the interest of the Republic of Ghana and for that matter, the people you represent, for which reason we urge you not to ratify the deal. We call on you to reject the deal because:
1. It does not guarantee improvement in management. There is in fact nothing in the agreement which commits Vodafone to improved performance targets, such as in telephone coverage, in closing the urban-rural telecommunications gap, in improving training and working conditions for GT workers etc. In fact the agreement, as it stands will rather cripple our resolve to expand ICT infrastructure to rural areas.
2. It does not guarantee improvement in technology, as Vodafone has no commitment to bringing in new telecoms technology. In fact they are not obliged by the contract and no timetable and bench-marks have been set.
3. It does not guarantee the injection of new capital by Vodafone. It is actually Ghana which is investing in Vodafone, as the Government of Ghana is required to pay off the $433 million outstanding GT debt , invest $228 million, and to provide a further $40 million for any future retrenchment exercise.
4. It condones the past mismanagement and acts of financial impropriety against GT. Under Article 10.7 of the Agreement, Government has undertaken to waive its rights to prosecute any of the officers (Directors, etc.) of all the companies constituting the so-called Enlarged GT Group for any acts of corruption committed in the course of their duties. The provision bearing the title: "PAST BREACHES" runs thus: 10.7 "GOG hereby waives and undertakes that it will not at any time bring any claim or prosecution against any member of the Enlarged GT Group or any post-closing directors in respect of any act of such member or director relating to the Anti-Corruption Warranties which arises from or otherwise relates to the period prior to closing". Honourable Members of Parliament, we deem it our civic responsibility to draw your attention to the fact that, adequate due diligence has not been done on Vodafone, and also that the transaction document itself is flawed in many respects and skewed to the disadvantage of Ghana. Your ratification of the transaction before you, therefore, would lock the country into an unfavourable situation, the reversal of which will cost this nation dearly.
Our group is more than prepared to appear before the relevant select committees to make evidence-based submissions on why this deal is a bad one, and why in our view it short-changes Ghanaians. May we take this opportunity, to also draw attention to the need to begin to re-think privatization within the scheme of our broad national development strategy and to see privatization not merely for the purpose of consumption but as an opportunity to transform non-performing assets into performing ones, so that any privatization proposal must necessarily come with it, re-investment plans for the proceeds. We also believe the time has come to undertake an audit of all the privatizations programmes we have undertaken so far, and to evaluate their impact on the national economy.
This we believe will enable us to make informed decision on the direction and content of state policy in respect of divestiture of state-owned enterprises. Honourable Members of Parliament, Ghana stands at a crossroads over GT, as you prepare to ratify or not to ratify the deal. Many, we know, have given up on our parliament and its ability to effectively exercise its oversight responsibility over the executive in matters of this nature. We still have faith in you, and will urge you not to allow yourselves to be stampeded into ratifying the GT sale agreement. We further urge that you are guided by the supreme interest of Ghana in your deliberations over the deal, and to demonstrate to us, the citizens that we can continue to trust in you to protect our collective interest in spite of your political and ideological differences.
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