Business News of 2014-03-14

Do more for consumers - Minister entreats telcos

Communications Minister, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah says although telecoms service providers have contributed immensely to the growth of the economy, they must strive to improve customer satisfaction.

The Minister said evolving needs of consumers, especially, will always haunt service providers and urged them to factor consumers' unquenchable thirst for service quality in their plans.

"You [telecoms service providers] are confronted with an ever-present challenge", he reminded key players of the telecoms industry at a forum put together by his ministry to provide a platform for discussing the challenges of the sector.

Also present at the aptly dubbed "Digital Family Forum", which took place at the Accra International Conference Centre on Wednesday, was Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications; Paarock Vanpersie, Director General of the National Communications Authority; Kofi Kapito, Chief Executive of the Consumer Protection Agency among others.

Dr Omane-Boamah revealed that the services sector accounted for 49 per cent GDP in 2012 and recorded the highest growth rate last year by registering a growth rate of 8.8 percent. "As at the end of last year, total telephone subscriptions grew to over 28 million subscribers from a 2012 figure of over 25 million".

"Mobile data also grew up to 10 million subscribers by the end of 2013, highlighting the growing importance of mobile internet in Ghana", the Minister said further in his key note address at the forum.

He further urged industry players to take advantage of the pro-business policies, clear regulatory regime, and the country's appeal as a safe ICT investment destination business environment -- urging them to reciprocate these with timely response to consumers' complaints.

The head of the Telecoms Chamber, Mr Sakyi-Addo, however did not seem to agree with the Minister's claim of a favourable environment for players in the sector.

For instance he cited the communications service tax as one of the unfavourable features of the sector, noting that Ghana is one of the few countries charging this tariff.

"The services industry holds the key to unlocking the potential of other sectors in the country", he told the gathering.

Also present at the forum was Google Ghana's Estelle Akorfio, and Director General of the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Dorothy Gordon. Others include Ernest Brown, CEO of GISPA, Philip Sowah, CEO Airtel, Mr Chinnery Hesse founder of Soft tribe among others.