Kotoka Airport For Sale …Angry Workers Chew Up Minister
The Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda’s attempt to privatize the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and hand it over to a Turkish company has been met with stiff opposition from the management and workers’ union of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), THE NEW PUBLISHER has gathered.
In a meeting held last week to officially inform GACL and the workers’ Union about the planned privatization ended abruptly, as some angry staff had to walk out on the Minister, according to the paper’s sources.
The whole fight began when the Minister officially informed the management and staff of GACL at the meeting that government plans to handover the daily operations of the Kotoka International Airport to a concessionaire.
The Minister told them plans were far advanced to cede the only international airport in Ghana to a Turkish-owned Company called TAV Airport Holding Company Limited.
He said the Turkish company will build a second runway and another terminal building among others.
However, the source said GACL Management and staff at the meeting immediately raised an objection to the Minister’s proposal to hand over the airport to the Turkish company.
They told the Minister there was no need for privatizing the airport, explaining that even the current facility is underutilized.
The financing arrangement for the proposed takeover of the KIA was also vehemently rejected by staff and some management who told the Minister that the future earnings of GACL was used to secure funding from a consortium of banks led by Ecobank Capital for the construction of the terminal 3.
The company’s revenue is now paid into an escrow account and will continue to be so until the debt is fully paid off.
In view of that the staff was of the opinion that handing over the KIA to a new company to operate will create a problem and won’t benefit Ghana in any way.
The objection resulted in an intense argument.
The staff then walked out of the meeting, threatening to stage a protest to show their displeasure about the planned takeover.
In a leaked Memorandum from the Aviation Ministry signed in March 2019 that made the news, the KIA, which was recently refurbished with millions of dollars of public funds, would be handed over to the Turkish company in a management contract that will virtually render the Ghanaian management and staff of GACL redundant.
In the leaked Memo, the Ghanaian government will give the management of all the operating air terminals in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, etc. to TAV Ltd who will basically run their day-to-day operations, including facility maintenance and fees collection in return for a percentage of the gross revenue accrued to government from these airports.
“As payment for their services, the concessionaires receive a percentage of the gross revenue from the operations of the airport, but are required to pay the airport owner the greater of this percentage amount or minimum annual guaranteed amount,” the draft memorandum stated.