Photo source: GNA

A former CEO of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Dr Daniel Seddoh, has raised serious concerns about the Social Security and National Insurance Trust's (SSNIT) haste in its attempt to sell 60% of its shares in various top class hotels.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Wednesday, Dr Seddoh argued that the decision is premature and potentially detrimental to the interests of SSNIT contributors.

He further questioned the primary motives of the decision and its broader implications for the pension scheme.

“These property values would appreciate going into the future. You don't sell something that would appreciate [in value]. Really, why would you sell a hotel business? If there is a business that you can run and make a profit, why would you be eager to sell?” Dr Seddoh asked.

He pointed out that well-managed hotels can generate significant profits and dividends, thus, making the rush to sell questionable.

“And in any case, you are running a pensions scheme, end-of-month contributors will make their contribution, won’t they? So the cash flow is there.

“So why the rush? What is chasing somebody? Is there a lot more we don't know?” he inquired.

He called for a deeper examination of SSNIT's financial situation, urging transparency about any cash flow difficulties that might be driving the sale.

“If they don’t genuinely have cash flow issues, then SSNIT should take its time. They should look for people with skill sets that can help those assets make the money and have funds to pay pensioners,”he advised.

Dr Seddoh also underscored the need for broader reforms within SSNIT.

According to him, the current management consistently takes decisions that may not be serving the best interests of contributors.

“We should look at the bigger issue of reforming SSNIT. This is because people sit in there and make decisions, and if the decisions cannot be right, then we need to look at the bigger issue. The reform is critical so that [SSNIT] can serve the purpose of a social scheme,”he noted.

SSNIT Controversy

The debate over SSNIT’s decision to sell its shares continues since the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa lodged a formal petition with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate allegations surrounding the sale of six hotels to Rock City Hotel owned by Bryan Acheampong.

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) denied any foul play in its decision to sell a 60% stake in its hotels to Rock City Hotel.

They insisted 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 issued on Sunday, May 19, 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 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 that he would make a petition to 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.