The country’s largest mobile telecom operator MTN has revealed that it pays more money to government in the form of taxes than it actually invests into boosting the quality of its network.
According to its Chief Executive Officer Serame Taukobong, last year the company paid GH¢605 million to government’s revenue collecting agencies in various forms of taxes while it plans to invest about GH¢460 million into network expansion and improvements.
As the leading mobile telecom operator, MTN has more than 46 percent of the market share which translates into 13.8 million subscribers out of a total 30.36 million mobile telephony service subscriptions.
Despite having passed the regulator’s quality of service tests in all the ten regions last year, with an average subscriber growth of more than 8 percent year-on-year, industry watchers argue that MTN a larger investment portfolio could boost the network’s quality of service.
Such investments for instance could help upgrade faster its numerous 2G cell sites into 3G offering improved data services to customers.
Apart from the GH¢605 million paid taxes, Mr. Taukobong mentioned that the ongoing power crisis is having a severe impact on its operations as diesel to power its cell sites and offices last year caused the company to overspend its budget on power by more than GH¢9 million.
“High load shedding environment from August to December 2014 increased generator runtime as well as increased generator replacements — more than 350 in 2014. Also fuel load more than doubled to more than 2million liters per month comparing 2013 to 2014,” he said.
While complaining about the cost of the power crises, he added that the situation could be better if Electricity Company of Ghana keeps to its rationing schedule.
According to MTN Ghana’s CEO Serame Taukobong “the critical thing is engaging with government to find solutions to the problem and yes we don’t have 100 percent reliability on ECG, which is why we have got such a high consumption on fuels and consumed as much as 2 million liters of fuel per month. Though we have a three plan back-up at most of our critical sites on a generator set or even the battery backup but obviously the lack of fuel and battery does affect your ability to serve customers.”
MTN Ghana’s CEO Serame Taukobong believes more engagements between the business communities and power providers on when the power would be put off or on should be regular to help them plan adequately.
“We do understand the magnitude of work that needs to be done but we need to ensure that we are forward looking by engaging business leaders and the community, ensuring that there is communication to help in effective planning,” he said.