Airport sale claims false – GACL

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Management of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) has refuted claims by former President John Dramani Mahama that there are plans to cede a huge part of the airport to a Turkish company, TAV-Summa Consortium, under the guise of a management partnership agreement.

“Claims by Mr. Mahama that an investment of US$600million was made at Kotoka is incorrect. The amount may be in reference to funding of projects in all airports including a US$130million runway project at Tamale Airport and US$25million new airport in Ho,” management of the company said in a statement.

“The claim that GACL has been unable to service the syndicated loan facility is untrue. To date, GACL has met its repayment obligations under the loan facility. It is not government’s responsibility to invoke the force majeure clause.

“GACL at the onset of COVID-19 triggered the force majeure provision under the loan agreement and has been in discussion with its lenders to meet its obligations. Additionally, government has under the COVID Relief Programme extended relief support to GACL,” the statement added.

This rejection comes weeks after the Airport Company rejected similar claims of privatisation after some staff of the company held a demonstration against government and their Managing Director.

Although the Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, also subsequently dispelled the claims, former President Mahama accused government of seeking to cede 66 percent of the GACL to its Turkish partner, TAV-Summa Consortium, under the guise of a management partnership agreement.

“When we were in office, a valuation study of the Kotoka Airport was done and it was valued at over GH¢5billion. It also had an insured value in the region of GH¢3 to GH¢4 billion because a lot of money had been invested in the airport and it became one of the five best airports in Africa.

“We are seeing a strange development whereby a Turkish company is being given the airport to take it over and run it. For US$70million we are giving 66 percent of the airport to a Turkish company. We are against it. It is wrong. They talk about not being able to service the loans that were taken to develop the airport. Apart from that, those loans are insured anyway; and so if government has not triggered force majeure, the way to go is not to sell-off the airport,” Mr. Mahama told a local radio station recently.

But Mr. Adda, the industry’s minister, stressed that government has not engaged any company on the grounds of a sale or privatisation of Ghana’s airports. The engagements with TAV-Summa Consortium, which currently operates Senegal’s new Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD), is meant to improve fortunes of the GACL, create more jobs, expand the aviation sector and make President Akufo-Addo’s vision 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 GACL is a process that is being fashioned in a manner that will see substantial investment into Ghana’s aviation sector and ensure a very viable and liquid GACL, which will further enhance the international standard of the sector,” Mr. Adda said.

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