The Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana has appealed to the current Akufo-Addo administration to take urgent steps to avert huge economic losses by reviewing the $1.5 billion contract between the government and the Meridian Port Services (MPS), operators of the main container terminal at the Tema Port.
According to a statement released by the organisation, “Information gathered indicates that when the new terminal commences operations in June, 2019 with the monopolistic rights of MPS, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and other operators in the Tema Port such as terminal operators, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Stevedoring companies and shore handling companies would lose huge revenues that may lead to the collapse of many container-related businesses.”
The previous Mahama administration signed the Tema expansion contract with MPS in 2015 under which MPS is supposed to Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) the facility for 35 years.
The expansion works began in October 2016, and the first container berth is expected to be opened by the beginning of the second quarter of 2019.
The TUC also asked government to further investigate circumstances leading to the award of the contract as preliminary investigations have shown that a competitive bidding process was not followed.
“There are indications that GPHA alone may sack about 1,400 workers in 2019 as a result of the MPS’s monopoly at the Tema Port. Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority will surely lose millions of dollars in revenue in addition to over $800 million granted to MPS in tax concessions,” it added.
Touching on the recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by the president to Parliament, TUC commended the government for improving macro-economic indicators such as fiscal deficits and debt-to-GDP ratio.
It also commended government for the declining policy rate, as well as trade surplus.
The organisation, however, advised government to ensure that improvement reflect in the living standards of citizens.
It, therefore, recommended that a national conversation that is broad-based and takes into account differences in perspectives in the formulation, implementation, evaluation and review of economic and other public policies should be held regularly.
“The private sector must be supported to lead the job creation agenda. Declining inflation must be felt in the markets for goods and services, and it must reflect in the cost of living and living standards of the people of Ghana.
“A trade surplus must reflect in the exchange rate of the national currency against the major currencies of the world,” TUC added.
Source: Daily Guide
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