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NDC Minority kicks against Next Gen Infraco 5G deal

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority has kicked against the Next Gen Infraco 5G deal between the Government and Next Gen Infraco Company Limited.
A statement issued by Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader and NDC Member of Parliament (MP) Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, said the Minority Caucus in Parliament had noted with concern the decision by the Government to give away Ghana’s 5G spectrum to Next Gen Infraco Company Limited for the next 10 to 15 years.
He said under the deal, Next Gen Infraco Limited had been given the exclusive right to build, own and operate the entire 5G infrastructure network across the country, for the use of all mobile network operators, internet service providers and other interested entities.
He said the executive approval was granted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for this deal on 22nd August 2023, allegedly barely one week after the company’s incorporation on 16th August 2023.
The Minority Leader said it was done through a non-transparent arrangement without any competitive process whatsoever.
He said after a preliminary study of the processes leading to the transaction, the Minority Caucus took the view that the Next Gen Infraco 5G deal was inimical to the national interest for some reason.
“Lack of value for money”, Dr Forson said their conservative analysis showed that the State could have generated up to $400 million to $$500 million upfront if the government had opted for a more competitive process and the revenue could have been channeled into critical development projects in this time of economic bankruptcy and excruciating hardships.
It alleged that the Government was giving away the asset for $125 million payable in yearly instalments on a work-and-pay basis over the next 10 years.
Regarding unfair monopoly and exclusivity, the Dr Forson said the ‘work and pay’ 5G agreement would ensure that Next Gen Infraco would be the only company to offer wholesale 5G mobile Data and Voice services in the country for a period of 10 years.
He alleged that all existing Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)-MTN, AT, TELECEL and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country would not be able to offer DATA and VOICE services to their numerous customers nationwide without passing through Next Gen Infraco.
He said Next Gen Infraco would control a substantial 62.5 per cent of every Data/Voice bundle package every mobile user bought, with only 7.5 per cent going to Government and 30 per cent for Mobile Network Operators and Internet Service Providers.
“We hold the view that the monopoly and exclusive rights granted Next Gen Infraco under this deal is unfair to other industry players and unacceptable,” he stated.
Concerning the absence of Parliamentary Approval, Dr Forson said the transaction awarded to Next Gen Infraco Limited was a multi-year contract, hence subject to parliamentary approval per section 33 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921).
He said unfortunately, the Government was almost concluding the deal at the blindside of Parliament; stating that “this renders the entire transaction unlawful, null, void, and of no legal effect whatsoever”.
He said some of the entities in the Consortium, which were the beneficiaries of the transaction, were mushroom entities owned by cronies of…., with questionable track-records.
Dr Forson said the regulatory framework and operational modalities and guidelines for this opaque arrangement have not been clearly defined by the Government, which was in an indecent haste to give away the country’s 5G spectrum for a pittance.
He said the investment that this Consortium was expected to make to justify their humongous 63 per cent stake in Ghana’s 5G network services revenue had also not been clearly defined.
He said the NDC Minority Caucus had, therefore, flagged the transaction for eagle-eye scrutiny.
Dr Forson said in the coming days, the Minority would address the media and, by extension, the Ghanaian people on these vexed matters and collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure that the national interest was upheld.

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