Ato Afful (2nd from right), Managing Director, GCGL, exchanging pleasantries with Fatima Abubakar (3rd from right), Minister of Information, after the meeting. With them is Theophilus Yartey (right), Editor, Graphic, Enoch Darfah Frimpong (left), Editor, Graphic Digital, and other officials of the Ministry of Information. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Ato Afful (2nd from right), Managing Director, GCGL, exchanging pleasantries with Fatima Abubakar (3rd from right), Minister of Information, after the meeting. With them is Theophilus Yartey (right), Editor, Graphic, Enoch Darfah Frimpong (left), Editor, Graphic Digital, and other officials of the Ministry of Information. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
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Graphic recapitalisation will be transparent — Information Minister

The Minister of Information, Fatimatu Abubakar, says the government has no intention to sell Graphic Communications Group Ltd. (GCGL) to a private person or entity.

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She explained that the government did not want to extinguish the Graphic brand, insisting that all it intended to do with the recapitalisation of the company was to ensure that the largest media house was able to stand the test of time in the digital revolution, and to also be able to acquire state-of-the-art technology and resources to expand and meet its demands.

Fatimatu Abubakar - Minister of Information

“So, that is why we have been having this conversation to see how best the company can be recapitalised. In fact, as we speak now, not a single investor has been approached or has expressed interest. We are still going through the phase of engaging the services of a transaction advisor. 

“When the formal process commences, we will announce to you all, to the country and to people who have interest to go through the stock exchange and express interest through the proper channels,” the Information Minister said.

Ms Abubakar gave an assurance that the process would be transparent and would be done in the best interest of the company in order to push the policy direction and efforts to inject the necessary capital to enable the company to expand operations.

The Minister of Information said this during a familiarisation visit to the GCGL to engage the management of the company, and also lay bare some issues that had come to the attention of the ministry.

She was accompanied by some officials of the ministry.

GCGL

A publication on the graphiconline website on April 5, 2024, GCGL — which publishes the Daily Graphic, the flagship newspaper; Junior Graphic, The Mirror, Graphic Sports, Graphic Showbiz and Graphic Business — said government had approved a plan to recapitalise the company.

Ms Abubakar said the ministry had been engaging the Board of GCGL, other state-owned print media companies and some other key stakeholders on how best to execute the listing on the stock exchange.

The publication said the injection of fresh capital was to enable the wholly state-owned company to run as an independent limited liability (private) company to make critical investments necessary to maximise its potential in the digital media landscape.

The Cabinet, therefore, on June 30, 2023, approved a recapitalisation exercise through a carefully executed initial public offering and subsequent listing of GCGL allotted shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Ms Abubakar said as a public company, if some interested parties took shares and in return injected capital into it, the company would be able to expand and diversify beyond the operations it currently ran.

The minister commended the board and management of the company for holding the fort in the face of a digital revolution that had impacted the print media landscape.

Broadcasting drafts

Touching on other broad areas of interest to her ministry, Ms Abubakar said the ministry was preparing to submit the final draft of the Broadcasting Bill to Cabinet this year, and that once it received the necessary approval, the ministry would engage the public.

The Managing Director of the GCGL, Ato Afful, appealed to the minister to give the company access to install its digital app on the devices that were being distributed to schools.

This way, he explained, the schoolchildren would have access to existing publications of all the newspaper brands of the GCGL in digital form, as well as other educational content, at no cost to them.

The Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey, gave the assurance that the GCGL brands would be very professional in their work in the coverage of events leading up to this year’s elections.

“None of our platforms will propagate fake news or articulate or amplify fake news. We’ll do our verification, which we’ll do thoroughly, and even when there’s any shred of mistake somewhere, we’ll just pull it down or retract it quickly,” he said.

Ato Afful (2nd from right), Managing Director, GCGL, exchanging pleasantries with Fatima Abubakar (3rd from right), Minister of Information, after the meeting. With them is Theophilus Yartey (right), Editor, Graphic, Enoch Darfah-Frimpong (left), Editor, Graphic Digital, and other officials of the Ministry of Information. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

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