The five mobile companies operating in Ghana have made profits in excess of GH¢1 billion in 2010, the former World Bank Country Director, Ishac Diwan has revealed.
The companies are MTN, Tigo, Vodafone, Airtel and Expresso. A sixth company, Globacom is yet to start operations.
“They have been making large profits, if my figures are right, but that is because there is no competition. It is only recently that one company lowered prices and the rest had to follow,” he said.
He said these during an interaction with journalists on his last day in office June 30, 2011.
Mr. Diwan urged the government not to give advantage to foreign investors over local investors. He said foreign companies often like to collude and evade taxes.
He said the gold sector has taught Ghanaians a lesson that “you don’t benefit automatically from foreign investment. You really have to be after them, you don’t allow them to destroy your environment.”
He indicated that it is only now that the environmental agency has enough knowledge and muscle to penalise companies that damage the environment.
“Another aspect is competition. They have to compete against each other. They don’t compete automatically,” he said.
“Look at the telecoms companies; they’ve been making large profits. The sector as a whole, last year made profits of more than GH¢1 billion, if my figures are correct, it doesn’t show a lot of competition.”
“But the regulator should be very sensitive to that. I have noticed there are no competition rules in Ghana. And this is a whole area of legislation that needs to be developed. And in time you need to have a body that enforces competition,” he said.
He said the companies collude because they want to have large profits.
He however, said foreign direct investments (FDIs) do have positive impacts on local economies. He said FDIs, bring in much needed money, new machinery and so on, which are positive for the economy.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi