Organised labour kicks against sale of SSNIT hotels
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Organised labour kicks against sale of SSNIT hotels

Organised labour has strongly objected to the reported sale of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust’s (SSNIT) stake in six hotels to Rock City Hotels, demanding the cancellation of the proposed transaction.  

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Organised labour said the hotels were the properties of Ghanaians and SSNIT was only holding them in trust on their behalf and, therefore, they would not allow the Trust to sell it off, especially, to a Minister of State.

Speaking at a press conference, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr Yaw Baah, and the Head of the Civil Service and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG), Dr Isaac Bampoe, said SSNIT had violated various investment guidelines and organised labour would not relent in its efforts to stop this latest process

Situation

The reported sale was raised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa. He has since petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the various allegations, including conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism and graft.

The management of SSNIT, in an explanation as to why it was in the process of partnering a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in its hotels, and also assist in their management, said the Rock City Hotel Limited submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal among all the bids received.

However, reacting to the claims by Mr Ablakwa, SSNIT said the decision was to get a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in the hotels, and also assist in their management.

It explained that the primary objective of finding a strategic investor was to increase efficiency, profitability, shareholder value and the long-term sustainability of the SSNIT Pension Scheme.

“The Trust is seeking to partner a strategic investor to raise capital to invest in the hotels, and also assist in their management. The primary objective of finding a strategic investor is to increase efficiency, profitability, shareholder value and the long-term sustainability of the SSNIT Pension Scheme.

“Accordingly, SSNIT went through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) processes as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (ACT 663), as amended by ACT 914, for the selection of a strategic investor.”

The Trust indicated that Rock City Hotel, owned by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, had submitted the strongest technical and financial proposal among other companies that expressed interest.

Despite the explanation from SSNIT, organised labour insisted the deal should not be pushed through, and had called on the minister responsible for pensions to direct the Board of Trustees of SSNIT to cancel the process immediately.

TUC

Dr Baah said the union representatives on the Board of Trustees of SSNIT informed the leadership of the union that they had collectively raised objections to the process. “SSNIT’s interests in six hotels should not be packaged and sold as if all the hotels were in the same financial situation.

“The original proposal for the sale of SSNIT’s interests in six hotels has now been reduced to four. We hold the view that this renders the whole process null and void. The proposed payment terms varied from the original Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) based on the recommendation of the transaction advisor,” he said.

The TUC Secretary-General further said the union had a challenge that state assets would be sold to a Minister of State, accusing the trust of not conducting proper due diligence in its quest to sell its stakes to the Rock City Hotel.

Dr Baah further stated that they had initially raised opposition to the deal, but it appears the Trust is bent on going ahead. "We have asked them to halt it earlier. But from all indications, they are rather speeding up the process.

We don’t think state properties should be sold to a minister. This smacks of state capture. If the Employment Minister fails to stop the process, we workers will stop the process.

“We are calling on the minister responsible for pensions to direct the board of trustees of SSNIT to cancel the process immediately otherwise, we, organised labour, will advise ourselves,” he stated.

CLOGSAG

Dr Addo emphasised that the funds being managed by SSNIT were not for the government; thus, it could not unilaterally make decisions that would directly impact it.“We want the government to know that these funds are not government funds.

These funds are pension funds and pensions are guided by Act 766. We have investment guidelines under Act 766 and clearly, these guidelines have not been followed.

“Government should be aware that we will not allow them to play with our funds. Should they dare go ahead, it will be the mother of all strikes in Ghana,” he warned.

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