Business News of 2014-03-13

Gov’t urged to seek local investors to takeover Tema Shipyard

The Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU) of Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) has urged the government to seek local investors to take over the PSC Tema Shipyard as proposed by the Chris Ackummey Report.

The takeover will ensure high retention of revenues in the country, promote industrial harmony in the Company and avoid a repetition of the experiences of the former Malaysian Management.

The Union said the investors could include Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC).

This was contained in a resolution adopted at the end of the 58th National Executive Council (NEC) of the MDU meeting held in Tema.

The resolution said: Council notes that so far Management and the employees of Tema Shipyard has demonstrated commitment to work together in the efforts to revamp the Company. Council notes further that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by stakeholders including the MDU affirmed that Tullow would not have equity interest in Tema Shipyard but Tullow would concentrate on the upgrading of the Company for the fabrication of parts for the FPSO as part of the Oil Sector Local Content.

Council is concerned that since the signing of the MOU, Governments decision on the upgrading of Tema Shipyard by Tullow Ghana has not been communicated to the Union and thus calls on Government to provide information on the decision regarding the intended upgrading works of Tullow Ghana in Tema Shipyard to the public.

The resolution noted with deep concern the increasing casualisation of permanent jobs by some maritime companies, especially local stevedoring companies. Council is of the view that the increasing casualisation would worsen the unemployment situation in the country and thus calls on the Ministry of Employment and GPHA to take immediate actions to ensure that maritime employees have job security.

The resolution called on the Government to replace the current Management of Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC) to save the company from total collapse.

It said the Government broke PNDC Law 160 of 1986 when it granted Lonrho Ghana Ports the right to build a Free Zone Port with exclusive right to provide oil and gas service to oil companies in the Western Region of Ghana, adding Council is deeply worried that the Lonrho Ghana Ports at Atuabo would undermine the security of the nation.

The resolution said: Council is of the view that, GPHA should have been allowed to develop the Oil and Gas Service Port at Atuabo in the Western Region as part of the expansion of the Takoradi Port, which would improve the benefits to the country in the context of the Local Content of our Oil industry.

Council shares the view expressed by the Board of Directors of GPHA and other institutions that the building of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Port by Lonrho Ghana Ports is not in the interest of Ghana.

Council calls on Government to abrogate the agreements that provides the exclusive right to Lonrho Ports to build a Free Zone Oil and Gas Service Port in the interest of the nation. Council wishes to express its readiness to work to ensure that Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority Act, PNDC Law 160 of 1986 is respected.

The resolution expressed concern about environmental issues related to the oil production especially the death of about 21 whales that had been washed ashore in the oil communities since we commenced oil production. Council supports the call by Civil Society groups for investigations to be conducted by Regulatory institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into the causes of the unusual number of deaths of whales in the period of oil production.

Council further expresses concern about transparency issues relating to the oil production and calls on Government to resource the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) for effective performance of its functions.

The resolution said the Council was against the passage of the law on genetically modified food (GMO) because there are unresolved health issues associated with GMO foods in addition to the fact that the introduction of GMO foods would place the agricultural production in Ghana in the hands of big multinational biotech companies, which would lead to the imposition of inappropriate farming practices on farmers.

Council calls on Government to invest in value addition for agricultural products, address problems of post harvest losses and develop prudent agricultural marketing programmes to suit the dynamics in the country’s agricultural sector.

The resolution noted that the national economy was facing challenges, which had manifested in high rate of the depreciation of the cedi against other foreign currencies and thus leading to the erosion of the purchasing power of workers by the high cost of living resulting in worsening economic conditions for many workers.

It said: Council is of the opinion that Ghana possesses the natural and human resources to build a strong national economy and expresses worry about the increasing dependence of our national economy on foreign aid and support, which had led to the domination of our national economy by foreign investment, especially Chinese investment.

Council calls on Government to put in place measures to build a strong domestic economy by revamping strategic national industries such as VLTC; Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), PSC Tema Shipyard and to transform indigenous Small-Scale Enterprises into large-scale businesses to create jobs and reverse the increasing trend of capital flight.

The resolution expressed worry about the perception and reality of corruption among sections of the Ghanaian society including Politicians, Public Servants, Security Agencies and Regulators among others.

It said: Council expresses further worry that corruption is becoming pervasive and rewarding to the extent that it is becoming an acceptable means to success.

Council is of the view that the increasing corruption in our national life indicates that we are losing our national identity and sense of patriotism.

Council calls on Government to investigate allegations of corrupt practices against duty bearers in addition to the development of programmes that would instill national values of discipline, patriotism and honesty among citizens.

Source: GNA
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