The Telecom industry in Ghana has been a driver for economic growth, representing 7 per cent of investment in Ghana, 10 per cent of government income and 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr Serame Taukobong, made this known at a Stakeholders and Media Forum organized by MTN Ghana in Accra.
The purpose of the forum was to share an overview of MTN’s business performance in the previous year, its focus for the year 2015 and to assess the impact of MTN’s operations and the contribution of the telecoms industry to the Ghanaian economy.
Mr Taukobong disclosed that MTN Ghana’s total payments in tax to government in 2014 amounted to GH¢ 605 million, while in 7 years, MTN Ghana Foundation executed over 95 projects at the cost of GH$15.5 million, and impacted over 213,000 people directly and 2.5 million indirectly.
He said among the projects, which cut across the areas of education, health and economic empowerment, were investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the construction of libraries, dormitories, classrooms and the provision of scholarships from which over 800 benefitted, with a direct impact for more than 150,000 Ghanaians.
The other projects, he said, were the construction of hospitals, refurbishment of wards and the provision of surgeries equipment, with a direct Impact on over 60,000 Ghanaians.
In addition, Mr Taokobong said, MTN Ghana supported micro enterprises, executed the business incubator project, supported surgeries for life-threatening ailments and embarked on the Y’ello Care- employee volunteer programme, and blood donation exercises which had raised more than 2,000 pints of blood for the some of the major hospitals in the country.
He said through the ecosystem of partnerships and suppliers, MTN Ghana had also generated 500,000 jobs while 46 projects at the cost of GH$ 1,843,250 had been approved for the first quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile, according to Mr Taukobong, GH¢ 460 million had been earmarked as total Network & IT investments in 2015, with 90 per cent of IT investment portfolio having already commenced.
He disclosed that from January to December 2014, MTN Ghana had passed all Quality of Service (QoS) monitoring tests conducted by the National Communications Authority (NCA) in all ten regions of Ghana, with no QoS fines from NCA.
On SIMBOX fraud, he said it was not in the interest of the operator to encourage the practice as both government and the telecom companies were all negatively impacted.
He identified the main driver for SIMBOX fraud as the arbitrage between the international termination rates and local call rates.
Mr Taukobong said to contain the practice, the removal of the fixed price would result in increased international traffic to Ghana, higher taxes for government or less profit for the SIMBOX, leading to reduction or elimination of bypass.
He disclosed that MTN Ghana was the first company in Ghana to be recognized as Investors in People (IPP) — a worldwide accreditation that recognizes high performance through people.
On challenges, he said the high load shedding environment from August 2014 to December 2014 had increased Generator Runtime, increased Generator Replacements (more than 350 in 2014) while fuel load more than doubled to more than 2 million liters per month, comparing 2013 to 2014.
In addition, he said, fiber cuts and battery thefts were affecting network performance, while it took time to identify and repair the damages caused, with repair and replacement of materials coming at great cost to the company.