Mr Speaker, in 2016, a further complication was introduced. The Electronic Communications Act was amended per Act 910 to make inter- connection through an Interconnect ClearingHouse (ICH) mandatory. The Electronic Communications (Interconnect) Clearinghouse Service Regulation, 2016 specifically barred any ICH from providing revenue assurance services.
Afriwave Ghana Limited was granted a licence to provide Interconnect Clearinghouse Services in August, 2016 but Mr Speaker, the scope of the Afriwave License included Monitoring of International Incoming Traffic and Anti- Fraud Monitoring (SIM-BOX Tracking). This was not a core function of the ICH.
The introduction of Afriwave meant that there would have been a duplication of efforts as Subah continued to provide Inbound International Traffic Monitoring Services to the NCA.
To avoid this clear duplication, the NCA wrote on a number of occasions to inform Subah Infosolutions that their services were no longer required by the NCA. Subah however ignored those letters.
It is pertinent to note that while the NCA was not a party to the Subah contract, which was between Subah and the GRA, it was bound to use their services even where it did not need or require it and was obliged to pay for it. There is copious correspondence of NCA displeasure with this arrangement which was ignored.
Mr Speaker, without independent comparison of the CDRs with data actually gathered from the monitoring of the traffic
in real-time, it is impossible to ensure the accuracy of declared traffic volumes.
If traffic is not monitored in real-time, the only source of capturing traffic volumes will be from the MNO's servers (CDRs) and that could be manipulated as there is no guarantee that they haven't been tampered with, in the absence of the control mechanism of electronic real-time data capturing.
Up until now, there has not been any real-time capturing of traffic volumes either by GVG, Subah or Afriwave Ghana Limited.
Mr Speaker, since traffic was never monitored in real-time, these companies collected the data from the same Servers as the NCA verification team and so inevitably, the monthly traffic data collated by the NCA from the network operators for free was substantially the same as the data presented by Subah and Afriwave for which the latter companies were paid approximately US$2.6 million per month. Mr Speaker, we were in effect paying for no work done.
This was the situation the NPP government inherited. It clearly could not continue.
Mr Speaker, a stakeholders' meeting was held on 8th March, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Accra, chaired by Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo, the Senior Minister to assess the situation and propose solutions.
It was attended by the Ministers for Finance and Communications and their Deputies, Hon Kwarteng and Hon Andah, teams from the NCA and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) led by the Director General and Commissioner General respectively; the CEO of the Telecoms Chamber and all their members, specifically the CEOs of MTN, Vodafone,
Airtel, Tigo and representatives of Glo and Kasapa, Afriwave and Subah. Frank, open presentations were made by all present.
At the session, it became clear that neither Subah nor Afriwave was collecting real time data from any operator. It was unanimously agreed that the provisions of Act 864 would be implemented to the letter. The NCA would be the technical body to acquire and implement a Common Platform, working with the GRA under the direction of the Ministers for Finance and Communications for a successful implementation.
It was envisaged that the entire process would conclude with the Common Platform being established by the end of 2017. Subsequently, the Ministry of Communications in consultation with the Ministry of Finance issued written policy directives to the NCA to proceed accordingly.
Mr Speaker, in accordance with this directive, a vendor selection process took place after NCA personnel conducted site visits to other African Countries implementing this before approval for restricted tendering was granted by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to commence this process.
A key criterion for selection was the ability to monitor mobile money transactions, a value added service provided by mobile network operators. The procurement process was followed strictly.
Mr Speaker, the Central Tender Review Committee also gave approval for the contract to be awarded to the selected vendor, Kelni-GVG Limited to build, operate and transfer. Kelni Limited is a
Ghanaian Company that entered into a Joint Venture with the Global Voice Group.
The Joint Venture has been established as Kelni-GVG Limited to implement the Common Platform under a contract signed by the Minister for Communications for both Ministers, as enjoined by Act 864, on 27th December, 2017.
The Minister for Finance, in accordance with Section 33 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), has also granted approval for this multi-year expenditure commitment.
Mr Speaker, this contract will be for an initial period of five (5) years, renewable for another five years subject to certain conditions being met.
Key among these conditions is satisfactory performance by Kelni-GVG Limited, cost effectiveness of maintaining the solutions and the services provided and the capacity in terms of technical resources of Kelni-GVG Limited to continue providing the requisite services.
The Common Platform will therefore be evaluated continuously to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.
Mr Speaker, the fee for this transaction is US$1.49 million per month, as against the US$2.6 million paid monthly to both Subah and Afriwave which is within the industry's average for Platform as a Service (PaaS) contract of this nature. The vendors have already procured and delivered equipment worth over US$50m as part of the contract sum at no extra cost to the state and this represents significant cost savings to the nation.
Kelni-GVG has begun the anti-fraud operation which includes injection of calls from abroad. This is a direct cost element