The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has once again appealed to government to review its contract with Meridian Port Services (MPS) as its execution could lead to massive job losses.
Dr Anthony Yaw Baah said the 35 years contract signed in 2015 is not in the interest of Ghana workers as they will be rendered redundant.
He was speaking at the May Day parade at the Black Star Square in Accra, Wednesday on the theme: “Sustainable Pension for All: The Role of Social Partners”.
“We understand that Ghana Government signed a 35-year contract with MPS in 2015 which will allow MPS to monopolize the activities at the Tema Port when they start operations at the new terminal next month (June 2019).
“The contract was awarded to MPS without competitive bidding. Analyses conducted by Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) show that when the new terminal commences operations in June 2019, with the monopolistic rights given to MPS, GPHA and other operators at the Tema Port are going to lose huge revenues that may lead to the collapse of many container-related businesses,” he said.
In 2015, the Board and Management of GPHA took the decision to build another terminal at Tema harbour. The decision had been taken because of the need for a new automated terminal that increased the volume and efficiency of operations at the harbour.
Its successful completion was to make Tema a competitive global shipping hub.
The original plan by GPHA sought to put the expansion project through a competitive tendering process. Two projects were advertised. One for the construction of the terminal and the other for the operations once the terminal was completed.
Over 56 entities expressed interest, of which 20 were shortlisted. Bids from these global companies underscored the high interest the project had generated across the globe.
Interestingly, no bids were received from MPS, a consortium formed in 2003 consisting of Meridian Port Holdings (MPH) and GPHA.
In TUC’s response to President Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to Parliament in February, it appealed to the President to intervene.
Well, the TUC has not relented on its appeal as Dr Yaw Baah made it clear that going ahead with the contract will translate into massive job losses in the maritime industry.
“GPHA may declare over 1,400 workers redundant in 2019 alone,” he stated.
The TUC Secretary General, therefore, appealed to the President to intervene by reviewing the MPS contract.
“We are, therefore, not only concerned about the massive job losses that will result from the operations of the new container terminal by MPS, but also the huge losses in government revenue,” he said.
He added that “If the contract is not reviewed and MPS commences operation in the new terminal in June 2019, Ghana will surely lose millions of US dollars in revenue, in addition to over $800 million granted to MPS in tax concessions as part of this deal.”
Dr Yaw Baah charged all stakeholders to work hand in hand to ensure economic growth and create more decent jobs and housing for workers.