Business News of 2014-03-30

MDU petitions Parliament against Lonrho Atuabo Port dev’t

The Tema District Council of Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU) has petitioned Parliament not to legitimise the development of the Atuabo Port by Lonrho as it would be a blatant violation of the laws of Ghana.

The Council, representing workers in all the companies in the maritime industry in Tema, said its opposition to the development of the Atuabo Port is premised on the fact that under the laws of Ghana, it is only Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) that is authorised under section 5 (1) of the PNDC Law 160 of 1986 to plan; build; develop; manage; maintain; operate and control ports.

The petition, which was adopted at a meeting of the Council held on March 27, 2014, at the Ghana Shippers Authority Conference Hall, was signed by Frederick Ebo Quansah and Ebenezer Kodwo Taylor, Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the District Council of MDU.

It said: In our view, the establishment of the port would undermine the security of the nation and then create openings for illegal dealings in the country including the possibility of drug trade.

We are aware that GPHA, which is a specialised institution with legal authority to develop and regulate ports, had opposed the development of the Atuabo Port by Lonrho stating that it is not in the supreme interest of the nation either in the short or long term to allow the development of the port by a private foreign company.

GPHA has the capacity and the legal right to develop such facility in the Western Region as part of the port expansion programme of the Takoradi Port in the Western Region. The establishment of such an oil service port could be part of the local content of Ghana’s oil industry to justify the use of part of our revenues for the project.

We are, therefore, opposed to the terms of the agreement which provides exclusive right and tax exemption for the operations of the Lonrho Ports Limited in Atuabo for twenty five (25) years which is renewable for another 25 years.