FEATURE: Matters Arising: The Offloading of SSNIT’S Shares in Hotels (The President and Government Have not Erred)

One issue being hampered upon by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC); to make the youth believe this NPP government is taking away their life is the offloading of SSNIT’s shares in some of its failing hotels to a private entity, Rock City Limited, owned by a politician and member of government, Hon. Bryan Acheampong.

The question is, have the president and government erred in anyway by violating the 1992 Constitution and existing laws like the Divestiture of State Assets Implementation Act, 1993 (PNDCL 326) in considering this deal? This Act, is to provide for the divestiture of interests of the Republic in corporate and other bodies and for related matters.

Under Section 1, Divestiture Directives of the Act, it clearly states that, ‘the divestiture by the Republic of any of its interests in a statutory corporation or a corporate body incorporated under the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) or under the Incorporated Private Partnerships Act, 1962 (Act 152) shall be in accordance with the policy directives determined by the President.’

Section 15, with the heading, Indemnity Against Court Proceedings, states clearly that ‘an action shall not be brought and a Court shall not entertain any proceedings against the Republic, the Committee or a member of the Council or an officer of the Committee in respect of an act or omission arising out of a disposal of any interest made or under consideration under this Act.’

It must be noted that this Act, the Divestiture of State Assets Implementation Act, was made on 5th January, 1993 (just two days to democratic constitutional rule) and notified in the Gazette on 11th May, 1993. This also showed the weakness of our Supreme Law. And by the way, if the NDC had lost the 1992 General Elections, would such a law be enacted?

From the Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation presentation dated December 22, 2017, I submit this extract: ‘On December 23rd 1997, the Ghana government announced that 110 former state enterprises had been divested as part of the economic restructuring policy.

By the 1980s, state enterprises were suffering along with most businesses in Ghana, but they were also held to blame for the economy’s general condition. In particular, many were heavily subsidized and were draining much of the country’s domestic loan capital. Under pressure from the World Bank and in accordance with the principles of the ERP, in 1984 the government began to sell state enterprises to private investors, and it initiated the State-Owned Enterprise Reform Program in 1988.

In 1984 there were 235 state enterprises in Ghana. In 1988 thirty-two were put up for sale, followed by a further forty-four in 1990 under the Divestiture Implementation Committee. By December 1990, thirty-four enterprises had been either partially or totally divested. Divestiture of fifteen additional enterprises was also underway, and by 1992 plans were afoot to privatize some of the nation’s banks.

Joint ventures were set up for four enterprises, including two state mining companies, Prestea Goldfields and Ghana Consolidated Diamonds. In 1992 the Divestiture Implementation Committee considered resource-pooling programs to enable smaller domestic investors to buy up state enterprises. Such pooling would enable the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to deflect charges that it was auctioning off the nation’s assets to foreigners. Just into the second year of work, the DIC saw some 195 more SOEs privatised.’

This clearly indicates that, in the past, there were lots of offloading of the state’s shares in some of its assets or outright sales, so what is different today?

Today, SSNIT is about to offload 60% of its shares in some of its failing hotels to Rock City Hotel, because according to reports the Trust is cash strap. An arrangement which does not in anyway violate the laws of the land, has rather gotten some people to grow mad and wild. Ghana is becoming a country of hypocrites, cowards and sensationalists.

Hypocrites, because in this Constitutional Fourth Republic, when state assets were sold off very cheaply by the NDC, to NDC politicians, those linked to NDC politicians and other private entities fronting for NDC politicians, no one from that party or any socialists stood up against this.But today, they are flexing their muscles against the NPP for doing what is right in the eyes of the law.

Cowards, because when state assets like Ashanti Goldfield, Social Security Bank and Bank for Housing and Construction who were in very good standings were sold off or liquidated, those who are parading the streets now, against the SSNIT-Rock City transaction, were holed up in their caves, not wanting to be seen even thinking against those deals.

Sensationalists, because all it takes now, is for someone to come out with a sensational statement and the streets will be flooded with people shouting their throats out and protesting against things they do not even understand. In school, our geography master use to say, “do not follow the crowd, because the crowd does not think.”

The NDC is cleverly using this tool of sensationalism to make this country bow to its jungle laws, laws that were propagated by shallow-minded people who never had the ability to reason properlybut always pretend they were intelligent even though they know they were not.

Reading through the PNDCL 326, it becomes clear that dictatorship was clothed in constitutional garment. Why should acts of state assets being put under divestiture be indemnified against any court or individual action?

But this is the law and until it is repealed, no one who implements it, has done anything wrong in the eyes of the law.

On Friday, June 28, 2024, The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), directed SSNIT to suspend all processes seeking to engage Rock City Limited as a strategic investor in its four failing hotels.The directive, according to the NPRA is to enable it to do due diligence following the controversy and public debate on the move.

In a letter, signed by its Chief Executive Officer, John KwaningMbroh, stated, “As you may be aware, Section 67 (2) of the Act requires us to issue a relevant guideline to guide your investment decisions. In furtherance of this requirement, you are hereby directed by the Board of the Authority to suspend all the processes seeking to engage Rock City Hotel Limited as the Strategic Investor in matter of the sale of the above-mentioned hotels”.

The NPRA, has shown great cowardice in face of what is going on. Where was the Authority when in 1995, in this constitutional era, the NDC government made SSNIT offload 20% of its shares in the Social Security Bank (SSB) to a strategic investor? The SSB at that time was one of the best performing banks in Ghana and was under no distress.

Where was the NPRA when by 1999, SSNIT lost complete control over its bank with foreign investors taking over 72% of a bank’s share which was established with workers’ contribution towards their pension? NPRA could not protect Social Security Bank, which was very liquid then, but today, it wants to protect failing SSNIT hotels.

Such cowards, who are not interested in protecting the retired worker’s pension, but will only make noise to inform Ghanaians that they are around and must be recognised, as a group of good and patriotic citizens. Today, SSNIT has only 19.4% shares in the bank it established with poor workers’ funds. The question is how much is the pensioner getting from Social Security Bank, now SociétéGenérale – Ghana?

And, who are the NDC gurus, hiding behind the current investors in SociétéGenérale – Ghana, to grab what should have gone to the retired worker? NPRA must make itself useful and investigate this, if it wishes to be considered important in the lives of pensioners.

Asiedu-Nketia, FifiiKwetey and OkudzetoAblakwa must first come and explain to Ghanaians, why it was okay for the NDC to sell off, Ashanti Goldfields in 1994 to a foreign investor at the time when Ghana was the second largest gold producer in Africa? Ghana had 55% shares in the Ashanti Goldfields and by 2000, Ghana had zero shares in the gold it produces and it is the largest gold producer in Africa. Ghana has no say in its gold production.

The Organised Labour must also come and tell Ghanaians why it went mute when Social Security Bank and some SSNIT hotels were sold out to private investors which included some NDC politicians? And after that the labour front must convince us, what is different today.

It looks obvious that the NDC had intended to buy state assets including SSNIT hotels for almost free when it gets elected back to power. The opposition cannot forgive President Nana Akufo-Addo for what is happening now.And to stop this, the NDC wants to use sensational approach to incite the youth and throw them out on the streets, as is happening in Kenya, today.

In all this, according to the laws of the land, there is nothing wrong with the intended offloading of SSNIT’s shares in four of its failing hotels to the private investor owned by an NPP politician. Moreso, this had happened many times over, before during the NDC era, so what exactly is the problem now?

Hon. Daniel Dugan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here