Decouple services, put someone in charge – Martin Hiles tells government

Martin Hiles  Mh Martin Hiles

Fri, 17 Mar 2023 Source: Eye on Port

A former Managing Director of the Volta Lake Transport Company Limited, Martin Hiles has opined that for the company he formerly headed to be economically viable, government may have to decouple the North-South profit-making cargo transportation service from the cross-lake ferry social service.

According to Mr. Hiles, the concept of marrying both services under one company is wrong, making it difficult for management to market the company to potential investors and clients.

“Basically the cross-lake ferry services lose money and the north-bound cargo services make money when they are running regularly. When you merge two companies and one is losing money while one is making a bit of money, the end result is disaster,” the former MD asserted.

He lamented that a 5-million-dollar government subsidy to be allotted to VLTC yearly for the management of the cross-lake ferry service during the President Atta-Mills era, never saw the light of day.

“I became MD in the first month of 2011. I rattled the cages of various bodies but the money has not come to this day— that money would have made a dramatic difference. It will not allow the cross-lake ferry services drain the North-South cargo service,” he added.

Martin Hiles also said someone in government needs to be put in charge of promoting the use of the “marvelous asset” called the Volta Lake.

He said currently the Volta Lake and its operators come under the Ministry of Energy while issues of transport should come under the Ministry of Transport.

According to him, “the two sides do not talk to each other and it needs someone more senior to pull the strings together.”

He revealed that as far as he knows, on 5 different occasions foreign investors have tried to recapitalize the company but they are all interested in the same thing—For the separation of the cross-lake ferry services from north-south cargo services.

In addition to that, 13 different studies have been conducted on how to use the Volta Lake, all pointing to enormous social and transportation benefits.

The Former Boss of VLTC said the cross-lake ferry services should remain a social service due to its relevance to the inhabitants of the area, but government should subsidize it.

He empathized with the current management of the company who according to him have come to inherit many years of a lack of vision from governments.

Martin Hiles explained that the vision for the Volta Lake to serve as a vibrant transport corridor has not been achieved despite having “its moments”.

He argued that the Lake’s use for transportation could be as important as its use for electricity and should be treated as such. Because for years, the cost of transportation has been the major factor for the rising cost of food in the south. He insinuated that with the help of transportation via the Lake, food from the north would not cost as much in the south.

Source: Eye on Port