By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
The Deputy Minister of Communication, Ato Sarpong, has emphatically stated that the government of Ghana does not have any official contract with StarTimes for the rolling out of the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) in Ghana.
StarTimes, a reputable company with vast experience in Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTV) projects across many countries including Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and China, won the Ministry of Communication bid for the Ghana Digital Migration (DTT) Project in June 2011 and signed the contract on the 11th of April 2012.
In a recent communiqué issued by StarTimes in Accra, it asserts its position as the company under contract with the Government of Ghana to supply, install and commission the Ghana Digital Migration (DTT) Project. It further alleged that since the signing of the contract with the government of Ghana in April 2012 StarTimes has assisted the Government of Ghana to access the China Government concessionary loan facility to the tune of $95,998,530 to finance the project.
But speaking to Biztechafrica in an interview in Accra, the deputy minister acknowledged that the government of Ghana indeed on the 11th of April, 2012 signed a contract agreement with StarTimes based on three conditions which were the Availability of Funding, Cabinet Approval and finally Parliamentary Approval. These, he said, StarTimes had failed to meet, hence the initiation by the government of Ghana on the 14th of November, 2014 to terminate the contract, that later led to a final termination on the 15th of January, 2015.
According to Mr Sarpong the government for now has no official contract dealings with StarTimes on DTT role out in the country. “As far as we are concerned, that contract is terminated, it remains terminated and it will still stay terminated” he said.
Commenting on the procedure for terminating the StarTimes contract Mr. Ato Sarpong disclosed that it was done in accordance with the contract that was signed in 2012 and nullified the potential of the government paying and future judgement debt. “The termination was done in accordance with the contract that was signed on the 11th April, 2012. There is no potential for any judgement debt, we went through the issue one by one, myself and the minister, we went through the issues, we sought legal advice from the relevant body that’s that Attorney General Department, they sent us written advice and based on that and the information that was available to us the contract was terminated and it was terminated duly” he emphasised.
Ghana has set 16th of March, 2016 as the new date for the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting. This follows the inability of the country to meet the 17th June, 2015 global deadline for migration from analogue to digital broadcasting. K-Net Limited a local Ghanaian IT firm has been selected and awarded an amount of $82 million contract to deploy digital infrastructure platform throughout the country.