Ghana’s Parliament suspends appointment of Communications and Digitization Minister
The appointment of the Communications and Digitization Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has been put on hold by Parliament pending further investigation.
She is expected to appear again before the parliament appointment committee in the course of the week to provide concrete evidence on claims that Kelni GVG contract has resulted in monthly savings of US1.1million.
Minority members of the appointment Committee during the vetting of the Minister-Designate have expressed their dissatisfaction with the information provided by the Communications and Digitization nominee with regards to the operations of Kelni GVG in the country with a particular interest in revenue mobilization within the telecom space.
The Minister-Designate is on record to have made claims that following the operations of Kelni GVG in 2018, the government of Ghana has saved GHC 1.1 billion, which could have been lost to the state.
Adding to that, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful had earlier told legislators in an accusatory tone on the floor of parliament that through the implementation of the Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) run by Kelni GVG, the government “uncovered that, prior to the introduction of the CMP, GHC 470 million in taxes was lost from potential under-declaration between 2015 to the first quarter of 2017.”
“An estimated amount of GHS 300 million in taxes was saved between Q1 of 2017 to date as a result of the announcement of the implementation of the CP on March 8th, 2017 and its actual implementation date.”
Although the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Telecom Chamber, Kenneth Ashigbey has debunked such claims by the then Communications Minister and maintained that the ongoing working relationship between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), National Communications Authority (NCA) and/or their technical partner KelniGVG regarding the CMP does not support these allegations, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful seems undeterred to amplify such alleged unfounded claims at every opportunity she gets.
Built and operated by Kelni GVG since 2018 at the cost of USD 89 million, the Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) officially launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo was to provide an objective means of verifying the information provided by the telecom operators for tax revenues purposes in accordance with the law.
Appearing before the Appointments Committee again, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful will be assisting minority members with detailed information on the following issues:
1. a) The Minister-designate for Communications is required to provide further clarification on the criteria used for the closure of radio stations across the country.
2. b) The nominee is expected to respond to empirical concerns on the apparent discrimination against a certain category of radio stations during the audit and closures of the stations.
3. c) We demand concrete evidence from the nominee on her claims that the Kelni GVG contract has resulted in monthly savings of US$1.1million.
4. d) The appointee must respond to lingering concerns about the seemingly lack of sincerity in her apology to NDC MPs when she accused the group of having taken leave of their senses in 2020.