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23.02.2007 Business & Finance

Westel privatisation slated for March

By Daily Guide

Preparations are underway to finalise the privatisation of Westel, Ms Ursula Owusu, Managing Director of the company, has said.

Ghana government is the largest shareholder in the Accra-based telecommunications company, which has been licensed by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to operate 026 mobile prefix.

The management of the company was hopeful that it would start operations by June this year.

Speaking at a consumers' assembly organised by the NCA in Accra, Ms Owusu said finishing touches were being added to the whole process, adding that by the end of March, the deal would be concluded.

She disclosed that out of 11 companies that submitted their bids, four had been short-listed.

Contributing, the Minister of Communications, Professor Mike Oquaye, said in order to detach government from the privatisation process, a transactions adviser tasked with the oversight responsibility to manage the day-to-day administration of the deal had been appointed.

He gave the assurance that the short-listed companies would be made public soon, after which a ministerial committee would sit to pick the best and then advise the President on the next step.

The minister however announced that the first $30 million tranch of a $100 million fund to support the national back-bone projects had been released.

Prof Oquaye pointed out that the support, which was coming from China, would help extend Information Communication Technology to rural areas.

Major (rtd) J. K Tandoh, acting Director-General of NCA, advised communications operators to ensure that consumers were informed about products or services devoid of falsehood, and misleading information through advertisements.

“It is therefore, the responsibility of service providers to always give accurate, sufficient and relevant information to guide consumers in making rational choices and informed purchase decisions.”

He indicated the NCA frowned on marketing sub-standard or defective goods and services to ignorant consumers, and was determined to impose adequate sanctions on culprits.