President Mills,

Congratulations on such a masterful delivery of the state of nation address. Your lack of optimism was clearly shown and your inability to once again fill our hearts and minds with words that will kick the socks off our feet was made abundantly clear.

A few months ago you called on the telecommunications operators to print their calling cards locally. This in your words will help the local economy back on it feet. Your minister of communications rightly waded into the matter, saying “I am personally displeased with that development and want to accordingly direct all telecom operators to show evidence of their local procurement initiatives to the regulator, the National Communications Authority, within the next 30 days.” Sounding very much like a typical Ghanaian minister he issued a warning – if telecommunications network do not comply sanctions will be applied.

But I am sorry, Mr. President, you and all who advice you are very wrong!

Have you ever tried printing letter heads for your organization in this country? You cannot get the very best printing works done here without any hiccups! Either your logo is changed or your colour scheme is adjusted in between printing.

All the telecom companies source a lot of input locally, from dealing with local content providers, dealers, mast providers and the thousands of people who in one way or the other depend on the telecommunications network. We, the active/passive users, depend on the telecommunications networks daily for our business, communicating via phone or data and increasing our link to the outside world through the internet. With the inconvenience of poorly terminating our calls and providing poor internet services, the networks do all they can to make our daily lives difficult.

Mr. president, if you and your official wants to really help us then please after you are done dancing slowly with your golden goose these are things we want you to really do for us.

For a start content providers are not paid their arrears arising for content provided to local users in excess of one hundred and eighty (180) days. In one such agreement with content providers one network provider is claiming loss of data on their part covering a period of no less than six months thus their inability to pay content providers.

Dealers are only allowed thirty day credit for purchasing the same scratch card you and your advisors are harping on. This squeeze means the middle men or in industry lingo, sub-dealers are making no better than one to two and a half percent (1-2.5%) for each purchase. This is after dealers are asked to issue up to one million Ghana Cedis in bank guarantees as a basis for contractual agreement.

Mast operators and the hundreds who install them there are not issued with life- or work-related insurance for the risky work they do daily installing and managing masts for these telecommunications operators.

There is no doubt about the good effect these telecommunications operators have had on our budding economy. Please Mr. president please hasten in this particular case through your minister of communication to make immediate changes to these and other issues that are affecting ordinary Ghanaians each day.

Thank you,
Abena Obi


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