A former Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Dr Daniel Seddoh, has joined individuals and groups who oppose the Social Security and National Insurance Trust's (SSNIT) plan to sell 60 percent shares in its four hotels to the Food and Agriculture Minister, Byran Acheampong.

Discussing the matter on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the former CEO argued that this move is not in the best interest of SSNIT contributors.

He questioned the rationale behind SSNIT’s strategy, highlighting the inherent contradiction in trying to maintain control after selling a majority stake.

“If I listen to the conversation very well, they talk about efficiency, they talk about control. But the fundamental thing is, you can’t sell 60% of shares and still have control. It will be very difficult for you,” he said.

Addressing the issue of asset management, Dr Seddoh suggested that SSNIT could improve the profitability of its hotels by employing experienced management companies rather than selling off its shares.

He cited the example of Labadi Beach Hotel, which is currently managed under contract and remains profitable.

“Probably what SSNIT could do is to reach out to the same people and say, ‘Look, guys in Labadi Beach, can we make these other hotels available to you so that you make them profitable and pay us our dividends?’ It is a very simple thing to do instead of selling off 60% of shares," he proposed.

Dr Seddoh also pointed out that the challenges SSNIT face in managing its assets are reflected in its actuarial report, suggesting that the issue lies in management inefficiency rather than insufficient contributions from members.

He highlighted the difficulty of finding equally valuable investment opportunities, given the diminishing availability of prime lands in Ghana.

“The question is, if they sell 60% and receive that money, what would they use it for?  Is it to pay pensioners or to generate another investment? And that investment where will it be? These are landed properties, and as we all know, land is reducing in Ghana. And even if you acquire lands, the locations are not as prime as these very ones so I don't see how you can sell 60%, raise money and say you're going to invest it elsewhere. In what? Treasury Bills?”he quizzed.

In view of that, Dr Seddoh called for a reconsideration of SSNIT’s plan to sell its hotel shares, advocating for strategies that would enhance profitability and benefit contributors.

“I think we need a second look at this whole transaction. To make it profitable and beneficial for contributors,” he asserted.

SSNIT Controversy

The debate over SSNIT’s decision to sell its shares in some six hotels started after the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa lodged a formal petition with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the purported sale to Rock City Hotels Limited owned by Bryan Acheampong, an MP and a minister of State.

The hotels under scrutiny 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.

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

SSNIT Response

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has denied any foul play in the transaction. It insists that the process in selecting a buyer was transparent and strictly adhered to the Public Procurement Act to select Rock City Hotel, among five other hotels that applied.

In a statement, SSNIT explained that Rock City Hotel Limited submitted the best and strongest technical and financial proposal among the bids received, meeting the criteria set out in the Request for Proposals (RFP).

SSNIT has assured the public it will cooperate fully with CHRAJ throughout its investigation process.

Byran Acheampong reacts

Mr Acheampong on Tuesday said the allegations peddled by Mr Ablakwa suggesting that he's committing any wrongdoing in Rock City's proposal to purchase 60% of shares in SSNIT's four hotels are false and baseless.

Speaking on JoyFM's Super Morning Show, the Abetifi MP expressed his disappointment in the stance taken by his colleague.

"You are just adding things together and trying to destroy me and trying to destroy Rock City. It is most unfair, it is 'un-Ghanaian' and you should stop it," he told Mr Ablakwa who was also on the Super Morning Show.

The next step

But, Mr Ablakwa is not relenting. He told Evens Mensah, Host of News Night on Joy FM that he will petition the Speaker of Parliament to address the issue.

“I have obtained the full list of 47 ministers and MPs diligently and I know for a fact that indeed, Bryan Acheampong confirmed this morning that he has not complied with the provisions of the Constitution. So I certainly will bring this to the attention of the Speaker as soon as the house resumes.”

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.