The Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda says the staff of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) have been misled over a "blatant lie" that the government intends to sell the company.
According to him, the Board of the Company has not yet begun formal negotiations with the proposed strategic partner TAV-Summa Consortium from Turkey even after receiving Executive approval from President Akufo-Addo.
Addressing the press a day after workers of the GACL embarked on a demonstration to register their displeasure over government’s alleged plan to privatise the company, Mr Adda stressed that negotiations have not commenced because the Board is still assessing the scope of the Executive approval.
He said: "There is a lot of falsehood in the system. That the Union did not even come to us to ask us about the details...We have not even written to the strategic partner, so how can you say we are selling the company. We have not invited them formally. Yes, they have made presentations to us on what they intend to do.
"There is nothing formal in terms of a technical proposal, financial or whatever. So, I want it to be very clear that there has not been any effort or any attempt to sell the company, to privatise it or to sign an agreement.
"The union has been misled, for whatever reason, I do not know. I do not want to suggest political motivation but if there are politicians behind them well, unfortunately from Ghana everything has been politicised but they are the same ones who will benefit if this thing happens well".
He also assured that any future agreement with the strategic partner will be to expand the operations of the Airport which will lead to job creation and not job losses.
The Minister stated that there are already strategic partnerships between the GACL and private companies in the aviation sector. He said agreements with Swissport Ghana Limited and Aviance Ghana had proved beneficial to the country and not resulted in the sale of any national assets.
Mr Adda stressed that these agreements would serve as experience in negotiating a future strategic agreement.
Terminal 3 debt
Mr Adda explained that such agreements are essential to the development of Ghana's airport infrastructure because the GACL is not attractive to lenders because of a $300 million legacy debt from the construction of Terminal 3 of the Kotoka International Airport.
"The terminal three building and the way it was financed is really a big problem to Airport Company. It was was a well-intended project but the time at which they financed it and the cost of the money is such that it is a big headache to them," he said.
"The total debt was about $400million but they have been able to part of it and it is down to about $300million and I think they are negotiating to see how they can bring that debt down further. They have done quite well in servicing that debt consistently".