From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, “SIERRATEL is Not for Sale…”I.B Kargbo
By Aruna Turay
Jul 30, 2010, 17:10

Contrary to media reports that the only Government owned communication company ‘SIERRATEL has been put for sale by the National Commission for Privatization, the Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo on Wednesday debunked the story, emphatically saying that the parastatal has never been slated for privatization by the Government.  In an SLBC television broadcast, the minister referred to such stuffs published in our local tabloids from internet postings as imaginary and out of context.   

The reports that have been published by several news outlets in the country allege that the company does not have the financial strength to compete with rival telecommunication providers operating in the country for which the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) now calls for prospective and interested bidders to express interest for the management of the company. The report also claimed that management of SIERRATEL, under the Managing Director, Mr. Alpha Sesay entered into direct joint venture with United Telcom, an Indian company and Hauwei, a Chinese service provider totally ignoring internationally recommended competitive bidding process. 

The above allegations were rebuffed by the minister, totally condemning them as negative reports. “Government has no intention to sell SIERRATEL now, nor in the future,” he informed the public. He said at present the APC Government was on the verge of improving on the status and standard of the company.  “So it is foolhardy for anyone to think that SIERRATEL has been put on the market with such robust plan government has to revitalize the company,” he furthered.

He also used the opportunity to allay the fears of the public that contrary to negative press reports, Government has no intention to sell the Government Printing Department. “These are all baseless allegations by people that do not appreciate the efforts of this government to re-brand the country,” the minister concluded, adding that government will improve the standards of SIERRATEL and ensure adequate and improved communication for the people of Sierra Leone.

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