Monday, 17 June

Decision by SSNIT to sell its hotels sensible and fair – Franklin Cudjoe

General News
Franklyn Cudjoe

Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI Africa, has lauded the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for its decision to divest its stake in four hotels, deeming it a prudent course of action.

 

Mr Cudjoe expressed his approval of SSNIT's move to engage the private sector in co-investing in hotels owned entirely by the trust but facing operational inefficiencies.

He contended that this approach would result in a more efficient allocation of resources, benefiting both SSNIT and the broader economy.

According to Mr Cudjoe, divesting from these hotels would not only infuse liquidity into SSNIT's operations but also curtail political interference in the management of these assets.

In a recent Facebook post on Tuesday, May 21, he reiterated his endorsement of the initiative, stressing that the negotiated sale price for the four hotels is fair and equitable.

Mr Cudjoe highlighted the potential advantages of SSNIT's decision to involve the private sector in its hotel holdings, signaling a move towards greater operational efficiency and transparency in managing public assets.

"I think it is sensible for a state behemoth such as SSNIT, eternally abused by past and present politicians, to scale down its real estate business, which has never been profitable.

"Similarly, SSNIT should seek private sector participation (co-investment) in wholly-owned hotels which are all not running efficiently.  Not only will that free up some liquidity, but it will also amputate the long arm of the politicians, which tend to reach into the brick and mortar businesses over which SSNIT has control. That said, I will support any competitive divestiture that brings on board more money, technology, skills and preserves Ghanaian management."

"I think the investment plan proposed and the price agreed for the 4 hotels is fair," he stated.

Mr Cudjoe's comment follows a formal petition lodged by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, with the CHRAJ to investigate the processes surrounding the sale of six hotels.

The hotels mentioned in the petition include Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort, and the Trust Lodge Hotel.

However, SSNIT clarified that the bids were successful for only four hotels and not the entire six as claimed by the MP.

Mr Ablakwa's petition calls for an investigation into various allegations, including conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft.

In his petition, Mr Ablakwa highlights what he views as violations of constitutional provisions, specifically citing Articles 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution. He contends that these actions represent significant breaches of legal and ethical standards.

Additionally, in a Facebook post on Friday, May 17, Mr Ablakwa argued that Bryan Acheampong's alleged involvement in the hotel sale without the permission of the Speaker of Parliament constitutes a breach of parliamentary protocol regarding holding offices of profit.

This, according to Mr Ablakwa, is a serious violation that requires thorough investigation and accountability.

"In my petition, I am inviting CHRAJ to investigate grave matters bordering on conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft."

"I have also drawn attention to blatant violations of Article 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution as diligent checks from Parliament's Committee on Office of Profit reveal that Hon. Bryan Acheampong has not applied and does not have the permission of the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit,” he said.

However, according to SSNIT, the strategy to partner with an investor to raise capital to invest in their hotels, and also assist in their management, started as far back as 2018 through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) processes as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act.

Source: Classfmonline.com