Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that almost all of the loans AirtelTigo took from local creditors have been forgiven so they were not transferred to government as part of the take over deal.
On Friday, April 16, 2021, government and the shareholders of AirtelTigo – Bharti Airtel Ghana BV and MIC Africa BV signed an agreement in which all of the assets and liabilities of the company were transferred to government.
Government was said to have taken over the company for a pittance, particularly because of the huge liabilities, including millions of dollars worth loans among other things.
But the Communications and Digitization Minister, who signed on behalf of government, has said that “100 percent of all the bank loans have been forgiven, more or less. The banks are not seeking the repayment of those loans.”
Among the notable loans was a $100 million facility from Standard Charted Bank.
She said other creditors have also slashed down the liabilities of the company significantly, so the burden on the company is drastically lessened.
According to the Minister, the company is now only saddled with just about 50 percent of its liabilities.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful noted that the shareholder loans of the Airtel and Tigo, as separate entities, are not being passed on the government.
According to her, “that is one of the main items that was hurting the balance sheet of the company, but that has been taken care off now.”
She said the writing off and slashing down of liabilities have also helped free the company from the heavy debt burden that it was under.
Meanwhile, for the local creditors, who slashed down the AirtelTigo’s liabilities, the Minister assured them that “we are going to sit down with them and look at ways in which we can assist the company to meet its obligations towards them.”
As of the close of December 2020, AirtelTigo has 8.1 million plus subscribers and offers direct and indirect employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people.
The minister has assured all customers and workers of the company that their interests will be “protected” in this whole deal, so no cause for alarm.
Meanwhile, checks by ABC News GH indicate there is calm among the workers of AirtelTigo as they all go about their duties normally.