The Minister for Communications and Digitisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekulful, has revealed that government acquired AirtelTigo for only one dollar (US$1).
According to her, claims that the government acquired AirtelTigo for US$25 million are untrue and must be dismissed by the public.
The two mother companies of AirtelTigo – Bharti Airtel of India and Millicom International Cellular of Sweden have both reported making US$25 million from the transfer of the merged company to Ghana government.
Bharti Airtel was the first to report to shareholders in October 2020; then recently, Millicom also reported same.
So the claim that government paid at least US$25 million for AirtelTigo, is not a mere rumor, but the Minister is saying now that none of that is true.
She rather reported earlier that the company left huge debts, including US$100 million owed to Standard Bank alone, but a significant part of the debt has been forgiven, while others have been slashed down.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said government plans to structure the remaining debt and pay them off.
“Standard Chartered Bank has written off 50 percent of that debt and so we are left with 50 per cent to pay off,” she said.
The government of Ghana last week signed an agreement with telecommunications company AirtelTigo for the transfer of complete ownership to the state.
The government and the parent companies of AirtelTigo, Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V., MIC Africa B.V signed the transfer after the conclusion of extensive negotiations, which included government taking on agreed liabilities and not the liabilities of the separate entities.
The transfer of ownership comes after Airtel and Tigo in June 2020 announced their decision to exit the Ghanaian market.
This agreement transfers all customers, assets, and agreed liabilities of AirtelTigo to the government of Ghana.
“We consider this a positive step as it adds to the growing portfolio of digital infrastructure assets being utilized by the government,” Communication Minister Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful stated after the signing of the agreement.
But several industry experts and watchers have said the best option for government is to either look for a strategic investor to take majority shares and operational authority of the company, or repackage it and list it on the Ghana Stock Exchange for Ghanaians to buy shares.
Each of them believe any other option will lead to a fiasco.