EPA is slowing us down - Glo

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 Source: GNA

Accra, March 25, GNA - Globacom Limited, operators of Glo Mobile, on Wednesday said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was slowing the company down with delays in the issuance of permits to erect masts to start operations.

Mr Idowu Olumodeji, Head of Technical-Rollout at Glo, told the GNA that the company had had to push back deadlines several times because the EPA had not issued permits for masts. He noted that to date Glo had submitted over 500 applications for permits to mount masts and other infrastructure in most of the regional capitals, but EPA was yet to issue a single permit. "Originally the EPA had issues with proof of neighbourhood consent from the communities we have earmarked for our cell sites but we have provided those proofs for about 300 of the applications and yet they have refused to issue the permits," he said. Mr Olumodeji, who sounded frustrated, said Glo had asked EPA not to wait for all the applications to be complete but to issue permits for those which were complete but the EPA had not been co-operative on that either.

He noted that the situation was particularly hard for Glo because unlike the other network operators, which inherited existing infrastructure, Glo was starting from scratch and had no infrastructure to start with without the EPA permits. "We were issued with a licence in May last year and the government and people of Ghana have since been waiting for us to rollout our services but the EPA is really slowing us down," he said. "We have done all the necessary promotions and sponsorships to whip up public interest in Glo but we feel very frustrated by the EPA's attitude towards us." He noted that apart from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which had issued all the necessary permits to Glo, all the other permit agencies such as the Ghana National Fire Service (GFS) and the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies were waiting on the EPA permit as a pre-requisite for them to also issue their respective permits.

Mr Olumodeji said Glo had millions of dollars worth of equipment gathering dust and rusting at its warehouse off the Spintex road due to delays by the EPA.

"I have one of my staff members permanently present at the EPA head office in Accra collaborating with them to expedite action on our permits but that has not yielded fruits yet," he said. He noted that Glo had shown commitment to following through with laid down procedure for acquiring the necessary permits for operations but its commitment had not been duly reciprocated. "We know the EPA had issues with some of the networks regarding the erection of masts and we do not want to be in that situation so we have shown commitment to the process all through." He said powerful agencies like the EPA could sometimes frustrate investors and that could negate Ghana's effort to attract investors into her economy.

"Glo has delivered in Nigeria and in the Republic of Benin but Ghana is slowing us down." Glo was the sixth mobile telecom operator in the country after TIGO, MTN, Kasapa, Onetouch and Zain.

Source: GNA