Cabinet yesterday approved the US $82.4million Digital Migration contract to be executed by KNET Limited, a wholly owned Ghanaian company.
According to information received by The Herald emanating from the Flagstaff House, President John Dramani Mahama ,took the decision to award the contract to a Ghanaian company as part of the measures to build the capacity of the local companies operating in the country.
What is amazing about the deal is that, it is US$13 million cheaper than the one Startimes, a Chinese company was to execute at an exorbitant cost of US$95 million.
The new contract also comes with interest of US$1 million every year for the 22 years at a time when government is engaging in smart borrowing.
As part of the deal, local television stations, will now offer multiple television channels, clearer pictures and High Definition sound quality.
The deal between the Ministry of Communications, led by Dr Edward Omane Boamah, and KNET Limited, will create greater opportunities for advertisers, broadcasters, film actors and also boost the creative industry.
The wholly Ghanaian company, executing the contract is expected to offer high spectrum efficiency that will allow freeing of spectrum for the telecom sector as well.
As part of the transaction, KNET Ltd, is to supply and install digital terrestrial television network solution which is modern and energy efficient across the
In April this year, the new Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Sun Baohong, pledged she was personally going to intervene for the release of funds by the China Exim Bank for work on the national digital terrestrial television (DTT) project.
She said, China was so keen on fostering further cooperation with Ghana, especially in information technology and it was crucial for funds to be released for the migration of Ghana from analogue to digital television broadcast.
Ms. Baohong, made the pledge when she called on Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, at his office in Accra.
She said, StarTimes, the company contracted to undertake the migration, was a reputable technology firm in China and would not fail Ghana.
Dr. Omane Boamah, had expressed concerns about delays in getting funding from the Exim Bank to enable StarTimes to complete the migration process.
He said, it had been decided that a different funding arrangement be sought if in the next few weeks StarTimes was not able to raise the money for the project from the China Exim Bank. But Ambassador Baohong, said that won’t be necessary because she would personally do whatever it takes to ensure that funds are released for the project.
She had traced Ghana’s historical antecedents, saying, “I am so honoured to represent my country here.” She praised the country’s contributions to the independence struggle of many African states and the Africa Union (AU) agenda, revealing that whenever she visits Ethiopia, she pays tribute to the statue of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, erected at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
“It is so exciting to come to the home town of Pan-Afrricanism and to work with the people here,” she stressed. Ambassador Baohong, made reference to what she said is the strong historical ties and cooperation between Ghana and China, stating that, trade volumes between the two countries reached a peak of five billion US dollars for two consecutive years, “so we are now the biggest trading partner of Ghana.”
She said China had given Ghana “sincere aid especially in the areas of energy infrastructure projects and telecommunications…and we are very keen to expand our cooperation in” areas such as media content and IT.
She officially invited Dr. Omane Boamah to the Second China-Africa Forum on Media later in June this year.
The Communications Minister, assured Ambassador Baohong of government’s commitment to foster further cooperation with China guided by mutual respect.
He commended Chinese companies doing a good job in Ghana, and expressed the hope that the two countries can collaborate more.