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NDC CHOKES ON $1.2BN CON JOB

Politics

The revelation that New Patriotic Party government has been able to execute the mobile money payments interoperability project at a cost of roughly $4.5 million, even though the previous National Democratic Congress government had signed a contract to execute the same project at a cost of $1.2 billion has strengthened claims that former President John Dramani Mahama and his appointees considered governance as an opportunity to loot the national coffers.

The revelation that New Patriotic Party government has been able to execute the mobile money payments interoperability project at a cost of roughly $4.5 million, even though the previous National Democratic Congress government had signed a contract to execute the same project at a cost of $1.2 billion has strengthened claims that former President John Dramani Mahama and his appointees considered governance as an opportunity to loot the national coffers.

 

That was the position espoused by well-meaning Ghanaians, including NPP communicators, yesterday in radio discussions and on social media platforms, leaving previous Mahama government appointees and NDC communicators completely helpless as they struggled desperately in their efforts to defend their party.

On the eve of Mr Mahama’s exit from office, Ghana signed a contract to pay a company sponsored by Roland Agambire, of rLG and Asontaba fame, $1.2 billion for the mobile money payments interoperability project.

Both the NPP and other well-meaning Ghanaians had described the contract sum as outrageously inflated. The telecom companies also vehement opposed the arrangement, with many arguing the contract sum was outrageously high.

With negotiations led by Vice President Mahamamudu Bawumia, the country has executed the same project at a cost of $4.5 million.

The difference of over $990million has sent shock waves down the spine of many people, who have expressed utter disgust over how the nation’s resources were abused under the previous government. 

In an article, Bright Simons of mPedigree wondered why such a project could be priced at 15% of the National Budget and awarded to an entity with no track record in payments anywhere.

“…the ‘project’ was priced at $1 billion plus. Sibton was to raise the funds and develop the project. And then earn a percentage of fees over a 25 year period to cover this $1 billion price tag plus return on investment,” he wrote.

“How does anyone price a simple gateway and ledger for a few billing engines at $1 billion and sign a deal with the government allowing them to recover such an amount from the poor citizens of a country like Ghana through fees and charges? When such matters come to light and the NDC fail to explain themselves - or show serious contrition and remorse if they have no explanation to give - but continue to just vigorously campaign for power in 2020, the impression they give is that: they don't give a hoot what the middle classes who care about these things think,” he added.

Desperate in their usual propaganda to take their party out of this obvious shame, elements in the NDC allegedly authored a statement in the name of Nashiru Issahaku, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, seeking to create the impression that they did not commit the nation to any such contract.

The statement purported to quote Dr Issahaku as saying “I wish to categorically state that the claim that the Bank of Ghana (BOG), under the previous NDC regime was to commit an amount of GH¢4.6 billion of public funds into the proposed switch to interconnect mobile money transactions is totally false and should be disregarded.”

But, sources close Dr Issahaku reportedly said he did not author the statement attributed to him and circulated on social media.

Johnson Asiamah, former 2nd Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, at press conference yesterday, would not confirm or deny if the statement was authored by his former boss.

Vice President Bawumia last week launched the first mobile money payments interoperability system in Ghana.

He had last year challenged the Bank of Ghana, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, the Telcos and financial institutions to ensure that mobile money platforms were interoperable to make banking services more accessible to the large unbanked population, estimated to be about 70%.

Interoperability is the ability for customers to undertake money transfers between two accounts at different mobile money companies or to transfer money between mobile money accounts and bank accounts.

Addressing the launch ceremony for the first phase of the interoperability project in Accra, Dr Bawumia praised the “hardworking Ghanaians and Ghanaian institutions” whose efforts resulted in a platform that provides “a financial transactions engine that is versatile, efficient, robust, and enhances patronage.”

He added: “It is a historic day for Ghana. A very big deal. We thank God for this day. This singular achievement reinforces President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s belief that with the right conditions and leadership, there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people.”