The Public Service Workers Union (PSWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), has cautioned the state to tread cautiously in its bid to seeking a strategic partnership to revitalise the operations of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).
It said particularly, the proposal of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement received from a Turkish company by name TAV/SUMMA Consortium on the GACL, should be critically examined to ensure that the national asset does not entirely go into private hands to the detriment of the state and its people, especially workers.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Bernard Adjei, General Secretary of the PSWU of GTUC, explained that the TAV/SUMMA proposal to the GACL that the Union had chanced upon, if accepted, would amount to a PPP arrangement, which would be another form of privatisation.
“The proposal from TAV/SUMMA Consortium proposes a NEW COMPANY called “New Co” and offers the following share ratios: TAV Airports 33 per cent Share, SUMMA 33 per cent Share and Ghana Airport Company Limited 34 per cent Share.
“We wish to bring to your attention that, TAV Airport and SUMMA are together as a consortium, which gives them the majority share holdings of 66 per cent.
“The share ratios are clear indications to entrust the business into the hands of the Turkish company at the detriment of the Ghanaian taxpayers who have toiled to build and protect the asset base of the company.
“But we are happy to note that the Aviation Ministry have just indicated that it has not accepted that proposal yet, and that the Ministry is going to go through a process where it will come out with the kind of arrangement that is most prudent for the national asset,” Mr Adjei stated.
The General Secretary also indicated that the PSWU had information that the management of GACL had received the proposal from the Turkish Company, and that it was yet to put together its response to the proposal and had assured the Union that they would be engaged in the discussions.
“While agreeing that the process of developing a position to the proposal received from TAV-SUMMA Consortium is now going to start, the Union believes that the proposal raises red flags pointing to privatization in the form of PPP, which we must be cautious of as a country“.
Mr Adjei, therefore, expressed the PSWU’s readiness to participate in any process that would help come out with the best decision for the company, its workers and the entire nation.
“The Union is ready to participate in that process,” he emphasized.
He advised that while the GACL, was yet to start its own process of developing a position on the said PPP proposal, it would be prudent that it consulted widely, before it took a stand on the proposal that gives the Turkish company, a whopping 66 percent share of the holdings of the GACL, leaving only 34 per cent to the country.
The Union said the PPP proposal was a form of privatisation and if accepted by the GACL, it would amount to privatising the Airport Company.
“We think that other options should be explored including what was done to GOIL for instance, where it was taken to the stock market and that also prevented political interference,“ Mr Adjei said adding that, when it goes through other options it makes it possible for the public interest to be protected.
The problem of the airport is not that of a managerial efficiency or the lack of expertise. At least, we have not been told that is the problem of the Airport, Mr Adjei said.
“And with the asset base of the Airport, we believe that we can secure any form of funding or strategic partnerships, which should be opened up for other entities to participate in the bidding so we get the best option.”
The GACL commenced operations in 2007, with the statutory mandate for planning, developing, managing and maintaining all airports and aerodromes in Ghana, comprising the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Kumasi, Tamale and Sunyani Airports and the Wa Airstrip.
Later in 2016, the construction of Ho Aerodrome started and has since been handed over in 2018.
The various airport locations throughout the country, aggregate the asset base of the company, which had formed the basis for leveraging Finance and credit to sustain the company.