After an assessment of its assets and liabilities, the Finance Ministry and the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA) have agreed to push investments into AirtelTigo to make it profitable, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said.
According to the minister, government is aware of the high capital injection required in the company and has made provisions to support it upgrade its infrastructure in order to give better services for its customers and work at becoming profitable.
Speaking to the B&FT in an interview, Mrs. Owusu Ekuful said: “This is a capital-intensive industry, but if you invest you will get the returns; if you don’t invest you will feel the pinch, and that is what’s playing out in the industry. We have commitment from the highest level that, in the interim, whatever investment they need to upgrade their equipment and better operations they will get it.
“Government is stepping into the shoes of a shareholder who wants investments made into the company to pay dividends to it. We won’t just take this and watch it deteriorate; we will do what needs to be done to grow the company. Cabinet down to the Ministry of Finance are all in tune; therefore, in the short-term, whatever funds they require to inject and make their operations better, they will get it from government.”
She further disclosed that government will be engaging a consultant to go into the company’s operations and proffer advice on the way forward for it.
“Within the next 4-5 weeks, we should have some clarity on the company’s new management. We intend to engage a transaction advisor to advise government on the options for the company’s long-term structure going forward. For the immediate future, we are going to engage a management services company to assist the company continue its operations,” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said.
Some staff told the B&FT that they have not received any salary adjustment in the past two years, even though they have consistently met all targets set for them over the period. In addition, they complained that for the first-time staff did not receive any bonus for the end of year 2020.
The minister said the company’s new management will go into it and address all concerns, as the staff remain a critical stakeholder to ensure profitability for the company. She assured them that they are part of the reason government made the decision to take over operation of the company, and therefore their welfare will be paramount.
She however asked them to brace themselves, as they will be expected to deliver even more to help accelerate growth of the company.
She explained that government will operate the company as a national asset in the best interests of the nation, the company, telecommunications industry; and ensure protection for the interests of all employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, stakeholders; and sustain the digital transformation of Ghana.
She appealed for customers of AirtelTigo to stay true to the company, as there are better days ahead.