A telecoms expert, Fouad Chalabi has questioned the government’s move to take over the shares of AirtelTigo.
Government confirmed the take over last week stating that the deal has reached advanced stages.
The proposed deal would result in the government of Ghana acquiring 100 percent shares of AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.
According to the government, the decision is aimed at protecting jobs and safeguarding the interest of stakeholders of AirtelTigo which has some 5.1 million customers.
But Mr. Chalabi believes the government will not benefit from this move.
“I don’t understand the need for buying an operator at this stage, especially that this is not an operator that is making profit. I believe that this will send a bad signal for many industries, [making them think that] they can be in an environment where no matter how bad they can perform, the government will come in and help them. Maybe the move from government is to save jobs, but we are in a liberal open market. With the dynamics of the market and how things are happening, I don’t have any reason why I would go as a government to buy an operator.”
AirtelTigo is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular SA wherein Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95% share in AirtelTigo.
Airtel had merged its operations in Ghana with Millicom in 2017, resulting in the second largest mobile carrier in the country.
The merger was approved by the National Communications Authority subject to the condition that the government will have the option to pick up a stake in the new entity in future.
But the joint venture has over the years, fallen behind MTN and Vodafone.