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GPHA staff expresses concern over gov’t’s inaction on concession agreement

BY: Della Russel Ocloo

Workers of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) have expressed concern about what they have described as the government's inaction in the implementation of the concession agreement for the expansion of the Tema Port.

Under the leadership of the Maritime and Dock Workers Union (MDU), the workers on Tuesday morning embarked on a protest dubbed, "GPHA Goes Red" by wearing red attires with red armbands.

The General Secretary of MDU, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng told Graphic Online that the move was to send a signal to the government to act on the recommendations of the 2017 report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee which was commissioned by the government’s Economic Management Team (EMT).

Apart from putting on the red attires, the workers went about their normal business but gave indications that they may embark on a demonstration in the course of the week.

They have also hoisted red flags at the entrance of the main Tema Port and other key installations to drum home their point.

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Mr Owusu-Koranteng told Graphic Online that the demand of the MDU which has been echoed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) are for the government to review the exclusivity clauses which would see the GPHA losing out container business as well as port dues.

"The new port is a semi-automated terminal and what this means is that it would employ only a handful of people, so if GPHA loses the container business, the redeployment would send a shock through the Maritime sector", Mr Owusu-Koranteng said.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee report commissioned by the EMT raised a number of issues including the fact that the concessionaire, Meridian Port Service (MPS) did not participate in the procurement/bidding process in 2012, when the government through the GPHA initiated the procurement process to expand the Tema Port.

The report also highlighted that the very low and liberal concession fee on stevedoring, port dues and zero concession fees in berth occupancy (harbour rent) granted to enable the developer to recover the cost of the project which was initially estimated at the cost of $1.5 billion ought to be reviewed.