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25.01.2005 Business & Finance

Dapaah Backs Full Scale liberalisation of Telecom

By GNA

Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communication designate on Tuesday said liberalising of telecommunication in the country is the surest way of controlling the high charges of mobile phone service providers since it would create competition, resulting in low rates.

He said countries within the sub-region comparatively charge higher rates than what the five mobile phones service providers charge in Ghana and that there was the need charge rates, which would not necessarily be a detriment to the service provider.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah said these in reaction to a question by Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang as what he intends doing about the exploitation of Ghanaians by mobile phone service providers during the vetting of ministerial appointees in Parliament.

"To say the people are being exploited is debatable since the National Communication Authority is supposed to keep an eye on their operations and bring them in line with its rules and regulations," he said.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah agreed to a suggestion that the telecommunication policy, which has been delayed would have to be implemented since it would create the right climate for investors to come into the industry. On why Telenor has not been able to meet the target they set, the Minister-designate said the programme has been impeded for the last 10 months as a result of the pending court case between Telecom Malaysia and Ghana Telecom, which he hoped would be settled amicably soon. "Equipment for the expansion programme has started arriving from China and would soon take off."

He said Ghana needs skilled manpower in Information Technology (IT) and that his ministry would emphasise on training in science and technology and that it was also important to be included in the educational curriculum.

Mr. Kan-Dapaah said a department of telecommunications would also be set soon at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to train to more students in ICT as well as members of staff of institutions and organisations.

"The Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence is an example of how we intend training people in IT, and we have also recently teamed up with CISCO Systems to help in the training programme."

He said with proper IT development and equipment facilities available it would entice investors into the country and create more employment

"It is my hope that the whole of Africa would think together and decide on the road map of its ICT development and contribute their quota to the development of IT on the continent."

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