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Labour Could Not Have Fought SSNIT Hotel Sale Without the NDC- Trade Unionist

Trade unionist Abraham Koomson says labour has failed and could not have fought the planned sale of SSNIT hotels without the NDC

Mr. Abraham Koomson, a prominent trade unionist has said Organised Labour could not have fought the planned sale of hotels belonging to the Social Security Insurance Trust (SSNIT), if the minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) had not led the fight.

During a press conference at the International Press Centre on Monday, June 17, Mr. Koomson, who has led the Ghana Federation of Labour for many years, stressed the necessity of protesting the government’s decision to sell a 60% stake in four SSNIT hotels to Agriculture Minister Bryan Acheampong’s Rock City Hotel.

He warned that without strong action, the current government might sell not just the hotels, but potentially the entire SSNIT. He expressed gratitude to the Minority for their vigorous defence and called on Organized Labour to support the demonstration to halt the intended sale. “We thank our honourables for their intervention because this battle, organized labour couldn’t have … we could not have, we have failed to deliver,” Mr. Koomson stated.

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The demonstration is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18, starting from Labadi Beach Hotel, one of the hotels earmarked for sale. Protesters will march through some principal streets of Accra and end with the presentation of a petition at Christ the King Church, opposite the seat of government. The march will be led by the Minority leadership in Parliament, representatives of Organized Labour, and other interest groups.

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At the news conference Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, confirmed that all arrangements for the demonstration are complete. He emphasised his expectation for a peaceful protest and assured that the Ghana Police Service would handle any attempts to incite chaos.

Mr. Ablakwa who has led the crusade against the sale of the hotels, also mentioned that officials from the presidency are expected to meet the demonstrators and receive their petition, which will be submitted to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. He reiterated the demonstration’s importance in ensuring that the sale does not proceed, highlighting the urgency and significance of their cause. “We have agreed with the police on the condition that the representatives of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will walk from the Jubilee House and meet us at the Christ the King Catholic Church to receive our petition.”

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Mr. Ablakwa had already petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the transaction. However, he feels compelled to take this additional step because, despite widespread opposition, information indicates that the process to finalise the deal is still ongoing.

SSNIT has defended the sale of its stake in the hotels, arguing that it aims to raise capital to invest in and manage the hotels more effectively. SSNIT clarified that the process began in 2018 through International Competitive Tendering (ICT) as required by the Public Procurement Act, a year before the first phase of Rock City Hotel in Kwawu opened, which could become a contentious point in the transaction.

While the intended sale of the assets may not be out of place since it is intended to enhance SSNIT’s liquidity, the beneficiary raises issues of cronyism in governance. The hotels involved include Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, and Ridge Royal Hotel.

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