The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is so burdened with debt accrued from the establishment of Terminal 3 such that it requires a “strategic partner” in making Ghana the aviation hub of the sub-region, Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda has said.
Reacting to allegations of the sale and privatization of the country’s airports to TAV-Summa Consortium, a Turkish conglomerate with diversified interests, Mr. Adda stressed that government has not engaged any company on the grounds of a sale or privatization of Ghana’s airports.
The engagements with TAV-Summa Consortium, which currently operates Senegal’s new Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD), according to Mr. Adda, is meant to improve the fortunes of the GACL, create more jobs, expand the aviation sector and make President Akufo-Addo’s dream of Ghana as the sub region’s aviation hub a reality.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo’s approval to the Ministry of Aviation to engage TAV-Summa Consortium from Turkey as a strategic partner for the management of the GACL is one that is being fashioned in a manner that would see substantial investment into Ghana’s aviation sector and ensure a very viable and liquid GACL which would further enhance the international standard of the sector,” he said at the press briefing yesterday.
He revelled that, the total debt of the GACL was about US$400 million as a result of loans acquired to build Terminal 3 and has been paid down to about US$300 million.
“The fact of the matter is the Ghana Airport Company is chocked with this Terminal 3 debt which it has been paying for a long time. Because of that, they are not able to get any extra revenue to undertake other investments.
The President has also made it very clear that we should find a way and make Ghana an aviation hub of the sub-region. We cannot do this unless we expand the infrastructure. With this debt on the back of the Ghana Airport Company, you have to find resources from elsewhere,” Mr. Adda said.
He further outlined the concept note that has been shared with TAV-Summa Consortium to guide them in shaping an offer for government consideration. The concept note begun by looking at the initiation process which concentrates on the scope of work that needs to be done to make Ghana an aviation hub.
The notes, Mr. Adda added go further to talk about the financial, the value for money, component of their proposal and also looks at the strength of the company, accessing their ability to recapitalize the GACL, reshape its current debt status and give the GACL more financial freedom.
“The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that government would want to commit TAV-Summa Consortium to include, strategic ways to structure communication flow and ensure that all players are aligned to the course,” he said.
“It has been 30 years since Ghana refurbished its runway and it would cost some US$39 million to embark on such an initiative and the Ghana Airport Company does not have that money to do that. With this debt, we cannot even do that. If this company comes, is it something we can push them to do? We are not sure, so we need to negotiate. These are part of the reasons why we need a partnership,” Mr. Kofi Adda said.
He added: “Let me emphasize that airport company management would not be touched, the new ventures that we are going to set up are separate companies; that is if we agree, those are the ones that would now look to manage affairs, perhaps get our own personnel from Airport Company to be part of that. These are things that the union even do not want to listen to and engage us to understand.”
The minister said, the agreement is at its teething stage and nothing concrete has been arrived at and therefore the union of the GACL should be rest assured that their interest and the interest of the country would be paramount.