DTT Saga: Gov't reimbursing K-NET on all customs charges – Ursula

Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said the Akufo-Addo government is reimbursing wholly Ghanaian-owned IT firm K-NET, for all customs duties and charges it paid at the ports when the company imported equipment into Ghana to build the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network infrastructure...


Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said the Akufo-Addo government is reimbursing wholly Ghanaian-owned IT firm K-NET, for all customs duties and charges it paid at the ports when the company imported equipment into Ghana to build the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network infrastructure.

The reimbursement, according to Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, is part of the current government’s support to local companies in the broadcasting space, toward helping them thrive, even though there were no tax waiver clauses in the initial contract signed between K-NET and the erstwhile government.

The minister said on Monday, 24 September 2018 that even though K-NET has done a substantial amount of work on the DTT Network Platform, financial constraints have made it compelling to let Chinese firm StarTimes, come in to complete the remainder of the work.

After the DTT Network Platform is totally completed and handed over to the government of Ghana, it would be managed by a fully-owned Ghanaian company called the Central Digital Transmission Company Limited (CDTCL).

Responding to suspicions by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) that the government is using a separate deal with StarTimes, in which the Chinese firm will extend satellite TV to 300 Ghanaian villages, as a conduit to hand over the DTT Network Platform to the foreign company to the detriment of local broadcasters, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “The Chinese government is giving us equipment to the tune of about $3 million, for expansion of satellite TV to 300 communities in Ghana for free.

“As our counterpart support for this project, we have provided a tax waiver of GHS3 million to support this project, now I’m willing to extend these same terms to any company”, she told Accra-based Citi FM’s Bernad Avle on the Breakfast Show, stressing: “Nobody is giving anybody preferential market access just because they are a foreign company”.

She explained that it was the government of China that chose StarTimes for that job to be done in Ghana and some other African countries including Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa and Guinea, where a total of 10,000 satellite TV sites would be set up.

In response to criticisms by GIBA and the Minority caucus in parliament that the government is effectively serving as an agent to help K-NET penetrate the local market through the satellite TV for 300 villages project as well as the tax waiver accorded StarTimes, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “K-NET is building this platform, the government of Ghana did not write into the contract at the time that they would give a tax waiver to KNET. We have agreed that we’ll reimburse K-NET for all customs duties and charges that they paid on the equipment that they have imported for this platform; that is what we are doing to support a Ghanaian company in this space to the limit of our capabilities, so, it is not an exclusive right granted to foreign companies as it has been thrown out there over the weekend by people who probably ought to have known better”.

She emphasised: “We are actively supporting K-NET by reimbursing them for the customs duties and charges they have already paid, they [K-NET] know that, it is not a new offer, if is something that they are currently enjoying.

“That is the situation I came to meet and that is what I think I can do as the Akufo-Addo government appointee in the Ministry of Communication, to support Ghanaian companies working in this space”, the Ablekuma West MP added.


Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/91.3FM



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