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Business News Wed, 3 Mar 2004

Telecom Malaysia files injunction against GT

Telecom Malaysia, the erstwhile managers of Ghana Telecom (GT), have filed an injunction at the High Court, seeking the court to prevent GT from accessing a 210 million dollar loan to secure equipment to undertake an expansion program in the country.
Mr. Oduro Nyani, Deputy Chief Executive of GT disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview from Parliament on Wednesday to confirm a submission made on the floor of Parliament by Mr. Stephen K. Balado Manu, NPP-Ahafo Ano South to the effect that there was an injunction preventing GT's expansion program from taking off.
Mr. Manu made the submission in a contribution to a debate on the 2004 budget estimates for the Ministry of Communications. The House later approved 42.250 billion cedis for the Ministry for this year Mr. Nyani told the GNA that out of the total of 210 million dollars loan, 150 million dollars was coming from Alcatel, a US-based telecommunication company, and 60 million dollars was being sourced from local banks, adding that the loan was to secure equipment to expand GT's services across the nation.
When asked for the details of the Malaysian injunction, Mr. Nyani said "an injunction is a legal matter so you need to go to the courts to find out what the actual details are."
He confirmed that the injunction was the only obstacle facing the GT from accessing the loan, adding that until it was sorted out, the loan could not be accessed.
Mr. Balado Manu, who was also a former Acting Chairman of GT's Board of Directors, said, "in spite of the injunction and other difficulties facing GT, the company must sit up and put its act together to ensure that communication in Ghana becomes first class."
He noted the several Telecom operators and service providers in the country were cheating and extorting money from their customers, saying that the practice where the phone bills usually recorded and charged for calls made, which never went through, was extortion.
"The usual voice message, which often says all circuits to the area you are calling are busy and yet when one receives phone bills, such calls are also recorded and charged for, is cheating."
Mr. Manu said the National Communication Authority (NCA) needed to sit up and streamline the operations of telecom operators to ensure that they provided efficient service and gave customers value for their money.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications said GT has so far released 40,000 starter packs into the system and desired to release more but the available infrastructure could not support extra lines.
In a related development, the House unanimously approved a sum of 28.8 billion cedis for the Ministry of Mines for the 2004 fiscal year, with a call on government to review the status of the Geological Survey Department (GSD) into a Public Service Commission (PSC).
This would enable GSD to develop and function as a professional body to render services for both private and government institutions to generate more revenue for development.
Mr. Albert Boadi-Mensah, Chairman of the Committee on Mines, made the call when he presented the committee's report after seconding a motion for the approval of the ministry's budget.
Mrs Cecelia Bannerman, Minister of Mines, who moved the motion for the approval of the budget estimates said the mission of the ministry, was to promote the management, and judicious exploitation and utilisation of the nation's mineral resources for accelerated socio-economic growth and poverty alleviation.
This, she said would be done under sustainable environmental conditions based "on sound and friendly regulatory and legal framework for investors.
The House also approved an amount of 279.400 billion cedis for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning following a motion by Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

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Source: GNA
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