TUC supports government action on Vodafone
The Trades Union Congress has declared its support for the government’s action on the Vodafone agreement. “The whole nation can now heave a sigh of relief because the government intends to review the agreement through re-engagement,” said Mr Kofi Asamoah, the Secretary-General.
Mr Asamoah, who was speaking to the Times newspaper in a telephone interview Wednesday, said “it is a welcome news that the government is reviewing it”. He said the TUC had been opposed to the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone from the very onset because it was a strategic national asset.
“The sale was also not transparent, while the Divestiture Implementations Committee (DIC) was not involved in the sale from the onset, but were made to rubber stamp the deal afterwards,” he said. Mr Asamoah said the TUC would be monitoring closely how the government would go about the re-negotiation of the deal to see whether the country gets real value for money.
The General Secretary of the Communications Workers Union of the TUC, James Tetteh Lartey, said he believed the re-negotiation by government would not reverse the redundancy of over 2,900 workers of Ghana Telecom.
“After the re-negotiation, and the government gets value for money, are they going to re-instate the 2,900 workers laid off?” he asked. Mr Lartey, who sounded rather sarcastic, said he wouldn’t comment further because “Politicians are all the same.”
Mr Isaac Abraham from the Corporate Communication Department of Vodafone told the Times that nobody at Vodafone, Ghana, can comment on the issue. “It is only Vodafone UK, the parent company who negotiated the deal at governmental levels that can make any comment,” he said.
The government on Tuesday said it would go ahead to re-engage Vodafone International over the sale of government’s shares in Ghana Telecom and declared its intention to institute investigations into the Management of GT under the recent past executives.
In its official position on the report of the Vodafone Review Committee, the government said it was determined to re-negotiate all agreements in the deal that were detrimental to the interest of Ghana.
A statement issued and signed by the Chief of Staff, John Henry Martey-Newman, on Tuesday said that, the government however, had no intention of abrogating the Sale and Purchase Agreement on GT.
He said the re-engagement would also include issues relating to the operation of the National Fibre Optic Backbone which is considered a strategic national asset. Also to be considered, the statement said, is the possible return of some GT investments, including landed properties and the Telecom Emporium to the government, and ensure the conclusion of decoupling of the Ghana Telecom University from the rest of Vodafone GT’s operations.