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NIA: Failure to use Ghana Card to vote in 2024 will be a tragedy 

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NIA, Newscenta, Ghana card, vote, 2024 elections,

Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah says it will be a tragedy not to use Ghana card for election 2024.

He is convinced that there is no reasonable basis for that not to happen.

Interacting with selected media practitioners in Accra, Prof. Attafuah said should Parliament give the Electoral Commission (EC) the go ahead, NIA is ready to deliver.

“There’s ample time, there’s solid technology, expertise, leadership and will… If Parliament gives the Electoral Commission the go ahead, we are ready,” he said.

The EC has submitted a constitutional instrument to parliament seeking to use Ghana card to compile the new voters’ register.

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According to the electoral management body, the Ghana Card is the most authentic means of identifying Ghanaians, and therefore the Commission’s decision to use it in compiling a new database of voters for election 2024.

Prof. Attafuah assured that NIA is poised to clear all backlogs and register new people if the Ghana card will be used for the 2024 general election.

He explained that out of the 19 million projected population qualified to be registered, the NIA has successfully registered 17.3 million.

NIA has registered 17.3 million (17,316,762) Ghanaians, printed 16.7 million (16,701,636) cards and issued 16 million (16,016,464) cards.

The Authority had so enrolled 164,405 foreigners, printed and issued 164,405 cards to them.

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He noted that since the registration has captured 15 years and above, those who will be reaching voting age by 2024 have been registered.

The Executive Secretary is confident that the NIA can register the remaining two million people can be registered within six months ensuring that every qualified voter has Ghana card.

Prof Attafuah explained that since NIA has offices in all districts across the country and offers continuous registration NIA is capable of registering every qualified voter in time for election 2024.

He announced plans to begin the registration of Ghanaians abroad next year February.

He said the registration, a statutory requirement, would be done by Ghana’s missions and at a fee to the registrants.

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Prof Attafuah said Ghanaians in the West African sub-region would pay the equivalent of $30 with those in the rest of Africa paying slightly lower than those Euro-American countries.

Ghanaians in Euro-American countries will pay the equivalent of $50.

He said the payment was part of the revenue model that underpinned the public private engagement on the Identity Management System and reason the Authority was able to give out the cards free to Ghanaians in Ghana.

The Authority will also start registering Ghanaians age six years and above and Ghanaians in detention from February next year.

The Authority has started the registration of refugees in the country.

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MTN hikes voice and data tariffs for all products and services

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MTN, Newscenta, data, voice, tariffs, increase,

MTN Ghana has hiked tariffs of its products and services effective February 07, 2023.

The review is as result of two changes. Firstly, the implementation of the 2.5% statutory adjustment of Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12.5% to 15% across all services.

This will impact both Prepaid and Post-paid customers. Secondly, MTN Ghana is proceeding with a 15% average upward review of its mobile data tariffs which was originally announced in November 2022 and was subsequently put on hold.

The increase in mobile data tariffs will impact both Pay Monthly and Pay-As-You-Go users.

The review in mobile data bundle offers cover products available on the short codes 138 & 170, as well as on purchases through Electronic Voucher Distribution (EVD), MTN Pulse, and Data Zone except for XtraTime.

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The data tariff increases do not apply to Fiber Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access (4G Router / Turbonet) customers.

With this review, voice users will receive less airtime due to the VAT implementation, and mobile data customers will receive less data bundle allocations for the same price purchased before the tariff increase was made.

The Chief Commercial Officer for MTN, Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson, explained the impact by giving an example of how the new pricing will work. He said, following the review, a three cedis airtime purchase before the VAT increase, which previously gave customers 24.4 minutes will now give customers 23.9 minutes, whilst a three cedis data bundle which previously gave customers 471 MBs will now give customers 401 MBs.

Explaining the reason for the upward review of the Data Bundle prices, Mr. Noel Kojo-Ganson said the review was necessitated by the recent economic shifts leading to increasing cost of operations largely due to continuous increase in inflation.

“These economic shifts have impacted us directly and for us to ensure we have the right balance for sustaining growth and investments into the network, we have had to consider price increases in various segments of our business.”

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Mr. Kojo-Ganson added, “MTN recognises that we are in very tough times and would like to assure our customers that we will continue to offer them the convenience and flexibility in the purchase of data bundles at their desired price points via the MTN Flexi and Non-Expiry Bundles.

Also, customers will continue to enjoy the 50% bonus incentive on mobile data purchases via MyMTN App and MoMo (valid for 7 days) for 4G customers”.

MTN remains committed to investing $1 billion by 2025 to continue its network expansion and improve the network experience for customers.

In line with our Ambition 2025 strategy, our purpose is to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

 

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Mupita: Africa’s telecom regulations need updating, harmonization 

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Africa, telecom, Newscenta, regulations, modernisation, harmonisation, Ralph Mupita,

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Group, Ralph Mupita, has called for modernization and harmonization of regulatory frameworks to ensure Africa can deliver universal broadband coverage by 2030.

He made these remarks at the maiden edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues held in Ghana.

The event was attended by several distinguished African leaders including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the former President of Niger and AfCFTA Champion Issofou Mohamadou.

Speaking on the theme, “Moving from Ambition to Action: The Role of Telecommunications in Deepening Intra-African Trade, Challenges and Opportunity,” Ralph Mupita said, “The regulatory frameworks for Africa’s telecommunications industry do not reflect our current advancement.

“They are still positioned for the era of voice. As the world continues to undergo major digital transformation and disruption, our regulatory frameworks need to evolve to reflect these technological advancements”.

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Mr. Mupita underscored the need for intense investment by all stakeholders to achieve universal broadband coverage on the African continent.

He said, “Achieving universal broadband coverage on the continent and building digital solutions for Africa’s progress requires a lot of investment not only in terms of digital infrastructure across regions but modernization of our policies and frameworks as well as the collective effort of all stakeholders”.

He further said, “As telecommunications globally sees rapid technological advancements, the continent needs to work towards having a robust regulatory framework which is relevant for the times and is future fit.
In line with this, there is also a need for fair share contribution from all ecosystem participants especially the private sector in terms of building and investing in infrastructure.

He said this requires a fair share contribution by both local and international players including mobile network operators and OTTs”.

Mr. Mupita  also indicated that given the challenges Africa continues to face – the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of the Ukraine war, rising cost of food and fuel prices, inflation amongst others – Africa would need $100 billion capital investment to be able to remain eligible to provide universal broadband for all Africans.

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According to report by the World Bank:  The Broadband for all Working Group, across Africa, where less than a third of the population has access to broadband connectivity, achieving universal affordable and good quality internet access by 2023 will require an investment of about $100 billion.

The Africa Prosperity Dialogues is organized by the Africa Prosperity Network and is aimed at achieving deeper economic integration between African states in outlining its industrialisation priorities.

The Summit amongst other things discussed policies that will ensure the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The event brought together many Government and business leaders including the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta and the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Mr Yofi Grant. MTN Group Senior Vice President for Emerging Markets Ebenezer Twum Asante, MTN Group Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo and the CEO of MTN Ghana Selorm Adadevoh were also in attendance.

 

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NCA approves sale of Vodafone Ghana to Telecel Group

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Vodafon Ghana, Newscenta, Telecel Group, NCA approval,

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted conditional approval for the transfer of the 70% majority shares in Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (Vodafone Ghana) held by Vodafone International Holdings B.V. (the Seller) to Telecel Group

Ghana government owns the remaining 30%.

A statement issued by NCA said the approval follows concessions made by the Seller and representations made by the Buyer to the NCA.

It would be recalled that in January 2022, the NCA received an application from Vodafone Ghana for the transfer of 70% of its majority shares held by the Seller to the Buyer.

NCA said it evaluated the application on various criteria accordance with due process and engaged both Vodafone Ghana and the Telecel

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The regulator concluded that the request did not meet the regulatory threshold for approval to be granted.

According to the NCA, Telecel resubmitted a revised financial and technical proposal in December 2022 which demonstrated the needed capital investment to extend the deployment of 4G and launch innovative Fintech solutions.

NCA said it found that the revised proposal provided more clarity and certainty in terms of the funding required for the acquisition and the commitments from both the Vodafone and Telecel.

The regulator added that Telecel strengthened the overall governance and management team and made firm commitments towards meeting the regulatory requirements of the NCA.

“Based on the above, the NCA confirms that the revised proposal from the Buyer now meets the regulatory threshold and hence has granted a conditional approval for the transfer of shares to the Buyer including submission of strategies for employee retention,” it added.

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The NCA assure the general public and all stakeholders that it would continue to work with Vodafone Ghana and the Telecel to complete all outstanding regulatory requirements to ensure a smooth transition as well as continuity of service delivery and improved choice for consumers and competition within the industry

Vodafone purchased a 70% stake in the Ghana business in 2008 for $900 million from Ghana government.

Then in December 2019, Vodafone Ghana announced the acquisition of all of the Vodacom Group’s stake in Vodacom Business Ghana.

 

 

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