Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda has debunked allegations that government plans to sell part of its stakes in the state-owned airports manager, Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), and the country’s main international airport, Kotoka.
At a news conference in Accra on Thursday, Mr. Adda said the allegations, which led to a demonstration by the staff union of the GACL on Wednesday, were unfounded and without merit.
He, however, confirmed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a consortium, TAV-Summa, to assess a proposal for private capital injection and a partnership with GACL.
“We have discussed all kinds of ideas of what we want to do; and yes, we have signed an MoU—but that is not enough to engage them in any formal negotiation on any proposal. That has not been done,” he said.
“In terms of the executive approval [to engage the consortium], as the Minister, I have written to the [GACL] board chairperson for the board to look at it. Where we are now is to get the [local negotiation] team to sit down and see what we have to do, and that has not happened. The team has not written back to the TAV-Summa consortium about their EoI [Expression of Interest] yet. There has not been any attempt or effort to sell GACL, privatise it or to sign an agreement,” Mr. Adda stressed.
Possible areas for collaboration with TAV-Summa, which were outlined by the Aviation Minister in a concept note he submitted to the GACL and other stakeholders, include: a soft loan with longer tenor for GACL, reconstruction of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) runway at an estimated cost of US$40m, a multistorey car park at Terminal 3, and construction of a light rail system for the KIA enclave to connect the three main terminals and facilitate movement within and into the area.
Others include the construction of an airport green park—an eco-friendly recreation area with various facilities—to generate revenue while maintaining about 60 per cent of the greens on the stretch between the KIA airport roundabout and the Hajj Village.
Additional airside developments, investment in systems and technology, a budget transit hotel, and other ideas were captured in the Minister’s concept note sent to the GACL for discussions.
GACL’s debt burden now US$300m
Mr. Adda confirmed that the GACL is currently heavily constrained due to loans contracted for the construction of Terminal 3 and is unable to undertake major new projects. He said the debt stock of the GACL currently stands at about US$300m.
Summa, a member of the consortium, carries out top-quality operations in 14 countries around the globe. It is currently partnering the Senegalese government to complete the construction of the stalled AIBD international airport and jointly operate it for 25 years.
TAV, on the other hand, operates airports in Turkey, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Croatia, and manages the duty-free areas of the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, USA. The company is partly owned by French airports group Aéroports de Paris.