Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finance Minister on the sale of GOG's GT&T shares.

In the recent political debate on the sale of its shares in GT&T, the Finance Minister has made a statement that does not fit with his Finance Minister's cap - instead it is a political statement. His statement was carried in the two Government papers (Chronicle and Times).

Finance Minister is questioning the Advisory Fees paid by GT&T to ATN and labels the fees as distribution. This is coming from the finance minister who cannot put this parallel with many other companies in Guyana. Such distributions take place by the GoG using the Lotto Fund and other unaccounted-for accounts as per the Auditor General Report.

Finance Minister is also saying that the taxes and other contributions of GT&T is nothing...since any company ought to pay its taxes. The point is that if the company is forced out as is happening, then there will be NO taxes. There are many instances of poor governance and administration that can come into the argument.

At the end of the day, one cannnot understand how selling these shares has to do with the cost of bandwidth. The Government seems to prepare for riding on the back of GT&T's investment in a new cable - so that bandwidth costs will be lowered anyhow, regardless of the ultimate distribution of the shares. Fact is: the Government only need to invest ONE year's taxes paid by GT&T (17millionn USD per year) into ICT to make it a reality.