Businessman-cum-politician, Papa Kwesi Nduom, has raised red flag over Communications minister designate’s plan to use state resources to fund set-top boxes for Ghanaians in the digital television migration this year. Ghana is expected to migrate from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting by September 2017 to among others, ensure that broadcasting services are protected from interference and for improved services.
At her vetting Wednesday, Communications minister-designate, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that she intends to look for funds for set-top boxes to enable those with analog TV sets in the country watch digital transmission.
“…My priority now is looking for the financing to power the network that has been the infrastructure put in place, and then subsequent to that, we can think about looking for additional funding for the set-top boxes which will enable those who have analog TV sets watch the new digital transmission; so once we solve all these problems, then we can stick to the September 2017 timeline, but if need be, we may have to extend it,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said. But Dr Nduom who is the founder of the Progressive People’s Party and a media owner, has raised concerns about the minister-designate’s plan to fund TV set-top boxes for Ghanaians from the scarce public finance.
“In my humble opinion, and yes, as an investor in the system, our challenged government treasury must not be used to acquire set top boxes and the like,” he wrote on his Facebook wall Wednesday.
He added: “Government cannot buy set top boxes or digital television sets for all Ghanaians. We now have pension funds in Ghana to provide long term capital if the rules are revised to deal with such wants within the private sector,”.
Dr Nduom has consequently urged the minister-designate to engage the private sector with the view to letting the market fill the void. “Only the best and cost-effective solutions should prevail in the end. The new administration should spend its time on those matters that fall in the “need” category,” he advised the Akufo-Addo government which took the governance of the country on January 7, 2017.