National Communications Authority (NCA)
The National Communications Authority (NCA) was in the news a few months ago when it cracked the whip on defaulting radio stations for not meeting their financial obligations to the state.
Just when Ghanaians held their breath in anticipation of what was going to happen next, came the announcement that the regulator has halved the indebtedness. It is a decision which did not only jolt observers; it posed pertinent questions about whether regulators are susceptible to issues when same are politicized by propagandists among others.
The amounts involved were so huge that many wondered why business entities, such as the debtors, could be so irresponsible as to delay payments for many years and incurring so much. Be it as it may, those of them aligned to the then ruling party could afford not to meet their obligations because it was a standard practice then to be insulated from statutory financial commitments to the state – this conditioned by political correctness.
By their action, the NCA has showed a worrying level of inconsistencies which we find unacceptable. In an earlier breath, the signal was about a determination to recover what was due the state come what may – failure to achieve which objective could result in sanctions against them.
We clapped and admired the agency for being ready to walk their talk. Not so, however, when signs of stress set in and with them, vacillation, as being played out now.
Such vacillations have the tendency to weaken an institution: the NCA should be strong and be ready to bite when it is necessary to do so. Managing such a medley of radio stations, some of them with the tendency to incite the citizens to exhibit riotous behavior through lies on the airwaves, require resolve and virility.
We are on a path of developing our state institutions to be efficient and to operate without unnecessary interference in their constitutionally determined terms of reference.
When, however, these institutions show tendencies of wavering under pressure as in the case under review, then we have a cause to fret over whether our institutions will ever grow as we expect them to do.
We do not know where the magnanimity is originating from but can bet it does not favour the efforts to make our institutions virile and therefore efficient.
The signal being emitted by the concession given the radio stations suggests a succumbing to the objective of drawing the subject into the political realm by describing the whip cracking action as so inclined.
We have taken exception to the action and hereby give the assurance that as many as have been given the concession would default. They would turn to their propagandists, to once more, politicize the subject.
By reducing the monies the radio stations must pay to the state, we are playing into the hands of those who think that the intention of the regulatory agency was to embarrass the debtors.
Weakness on the part of a regulator does not augur well for growth and ability to undertake the mandate as prescribed by the state or even the constitution.