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Ursula justifies awarding 5G contract to NextGen InfraCo 5G a week after establishment

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The Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has justified the government’s action of awarding a 5G licensing contract to NextGen InfraCo, which was formed just one week prior to the approval of the contract.

The minister, who also serves as the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, asserted that NextGen InfraCo was purposefully created to handle the 5G network rollout. She emphasized that there were no existing companies at that time with the necessary capability to oversee the rollout.

Owusu-Ekuful further elaborated that the decision to directly assign the contract to NextGen InfraCo aligns with the government’s objective to overcome previous hurdles and fast-track the introduction of the 5G network throughout Ghana.

“This is a special purpose vehicle and once the government took the decision that we will use a neutral infrastructure company to deliver this service, there is no existing neutral infrastructure company that can deliver it at the moment.”

“So, it had to be specifically formed for the purpose of delivering this service based on the strategic policies and decisions of the government, and it is borne out of our experiences and that is why we chose not to auction it,” she stated.

Her explanation comes amid scrutiny from investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni, who questioned the timing of the contract awarded to NextGen InfraCo Ltd. Awuni highlighted in a social media post that the company was formed just a week before it received executive approval from President Akufo-Addo.

Awuni also criticised the sole-sourcing method used to award the contract, which is believed to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, without a competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile, the minister disclosed that Next-Gen InfraCo (NGIC), is expected to launch the internet services across the country within the specified period, followed by expansion to other parts of Africa.

NGIC, she explains, is a consortium formed between the government of Ghana and seven other partners.

They are; Ascend Digital, K-NET, Radisys, Nokia, and Tech Mahindra and two telcos – AT Ghana and Telecel Ghana.

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