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20.05.2009 Business & Finance

CEO of Zain Africa Calls on President Mills

By ISD (Elorm Ametepe)
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President John Evans Atta Mills has assured the private sector that government will do its best to ensure that the current business environment remains conducive and friendly for them to derive good returns on their investments.

He said government will insist on accountability, transparency, and the application of the law to the latter. 'Once there is a strict application of our rules, regulations and laws, once people recognise that people must operate within a certain prescribed area, there is no reason why you should fear', he said.

President Mills was interacting with a delegation from Zain Communications led by its Managing Director, Mr Chris Gabriel at the Castle, Osu yesterday, when they called to congratulate him on his election victory.

The President said it is government's responsibility to provide the necessary environment for the private sector to operate to help with job creation, investment in education and revenue generation for government to build the necessary infrastructure for a strong and robust government. 
 
He pledged to fully co-oporate with Zain so that they will be able to derive good returns on their investment. 'I know the Zain Group is very much aware of the need to integrate into our society, and the provision of jobs is one of its major concerns', he said.

Professor Mills called on telecommunications companies in the country to print their scratch cards locally to provide jobs for Ghanaians. 'I think it is reasonable to request the printing of scratch cards to be localised to provide jobs', the President said.

Government, he said, wants the private sector to be part of Ghana's effort to build a better Ghana, adding, 'We are not going to make any unnecessary demands on you, we are not going to ask for our share in your investment, we have not contributed a pesewa and have no right to demand anything from you'.

Mr Gabriel disclosed that Zain has invested over $420 million in Ghana since it acquired the Westel Shares. He assured President Mills of his company's continued commitment to   investment and support for Ghana.

He also disclosed that Zain will soon roll out an additional 200 more base station sites in Ghana, in addition to the 254 already in existence, and hoped to increase the tally to 470 sites by the end of the year.

The company, he said, has put in place the most sensitive 3G network, connected it to its hoped to roll out m-commerce, Mobile Money Transfer, a system which will allow people with mobile phone to have virtual bank accounts, virtual transactions, and be able to send money to the remote areas. 'By August 3, 2009, we are looking to have our practical Zarp Mobile Transfer of money across all of Africa's corporations', he disclosed.

The Minister for communications, Mr Haruna Iddrisu government assured Zain of the security of their investment in the country. He said government enacted some legislation that has provided one of the best enabling legislations to support innovation in the telecommunication sector generally. These are the Electronic Communications Act and the Electronic Transactions Act.

Mr Iddrisu said the Ministry of Communications will be pursuing a number of policy decisions this year. One of these policies is a request to all the telecommunications service providers in Ghana to allow at least 40% of their operational cost to be borne in Ghana in order to support indigenous businesses to create the needed jobs.

The Ministry is in a consultative discussion with the stakeholders on this policy decision. 'It is the wish of government that no telecom operator prints scratch cards outside the country. We will like to request our telecom entities in Ghana to endeavour to ensure that at least, for the purpose of printing scratch cards, printing companies in Ghana, capable of doing the job are given the chance', he said.

Government will also initiate a policy to share in the international termination revenue of government. 'I believe that if the concept and principle is generally agreeable, government should be able to raise a minimum of $5million every other month from the telecom entities via international termination to expand revenue base to support needed development', he said.

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