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MTN Group CEO says economic challenges will not affect Ghana investment

MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ralph Mupita says current difficult conditions will not reduce MTN’s appetite to invest in Ghana.

According to him, the company wants to have a sustained investment programme so that in a market like Ghana, every Ghanaian has the capacity to enjoy the benefits of a modern connected line.

There might be marginal pressures here and there, but MTN will figure it, he told journalists in Accra.

He that promised that MTN will not reduce the level of investment commitments made to ensure that MTN builds the digital infrastructure for the progress of Ghanaians.

He also announced that management will ensure that the company aligns itself with the GhanaCares programmes of the government, in which MTN has an important role to play.

Mr Mupita disclosed that MTN’s business in Ghana is a prepaid business, which is highly cash generated and does not really need a lot of debt to operate.

While not being able to guarantee that the share price will not go down, he assured that management will do its best to deliver shareholder value through the medium-term guidance, including revenue growth.

6.7% shares to localise
MTN has 6.7% more of shares to localise to hit the 30% target for Ghanaians to enjoy and participate in the economic success of the company.

He assured that the programme of further localisation remains intact and all things being equal, the target of 30% should be achieved by the end of this year.

He is convinced that core Ghanaians owning shares in the quality asset will drive deeper liquidity in the local market so the stock price can go up.

As the company moves from 4G to 5G, Mr Mupita said mobile business becomes a lot more fixed because the company has to invest in the fiberisation of the network as data centres become more important among others.

Investing core connectivity
Therefore, he announced that MTN would continue to invest in the core connectivity for a very long time as the company is excited about the opportunities in the telcom core business – providing voice and data for consumers and entreprises.

He is super excited about the enterprise business in terms of providing for small and medium enterprise (SMEs).

Various businesses
He explained that on top of the connectivity are things like financial services, digital apps, instant messaging platforms with the network as a service sitting on top.

API market place
He is convinced that the Application Programming Interface (API) market place can be created in Africa.

He sees a tremendous opportunity for growth since these businesses can potentially become standalone over a period of time.

As MTN Ghana achieves 91% 4G coverage which is very high compared to other markets MTN operates, he promised that as a company very conscious of not leaving anybody behind, coverage will be extended to remaining 9% by the end of this year.

Stabilisation Levy extension
The MTN Group President and CEO averred that due to global macro shocks, governments are trying to create fiscal stability which are continuing with short-term measures like Stabilisation Levy extended in many jurisdictions, naming Nigeria and South Africa as examples.

On the tax on electronic transfers, popularly known as e-levy, the Group Chief Executive said for now, MTN sees it as a burden sharing with government in terms of addressing the current challenges facing the economy.

Mr Mupita, however, pointed out that it’s too early to find out the impact of the e-levy on its operations but can only do so in six months’ time.

On the regulator declaring MTN as Significant Market Power (SMP), he said MTN had been living SMP regime for several years now.

Giving example, he said in Nigeria, MTN is SMP for voice, adding that “it is something it has learnt and got accustomed to”.

Mr Mupita observed that MTN’s share price has been rising in an environment where SMP exists and, therefore, does not envisage that its implementation in Ghana will negatively impact the company’s shares

He noted that MTN implemented three SMP regimes and has voluntarily taken one SMP regulation on national roaming and is implementing it.

The MTN Group President and CEO expressed satisfaction with the process of acquiring spectrum in Ghana, explaining that MTN is continuously having these conversations with the National Communications Authority (NCA) and Ministry of Communications on 2,600 band and the 3,500 band, which is the anchor band for 5G, where an operator needs like 100 megahertz of spectrum.

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