PwC, the accountancy and consulting firm, is soon to be named transaction advisor for the establishment of a new national airline, as government seeks to tap into the glowing prospects of the aviation industry.
Minister of Transport Dzifa Attivor said in an exclusive interview that only PwC submitted bidding documents at the closure of the call-for-proposal process, adding that their bid was a good one.
“We had negotiations with them and the documents will have to be submitted to the World Bank for a ‘no objection’. That will be done and we expect them not to waste time. We will engage PwC to carry out the process of getting the national carrier back.”
The national airline is going to be set-up on a public-private partnership basis, and the process of picking a transaction advisor is being financed using part of a US$30million Public-Private Partnership Project loan from the World Bank.
Mrs. Attivor was optimistic that PwC will begin work in a month’s time. The company will recommend the most viable structure for the airline and help government choose a private shareholder in the venture.
With 10 percent annual growth in traffic during the past five years, government has been keen to create a national carrier to tap into the aviation sector’s potential.
The interest also stems from the desire to create jobs, as the industry remains largely labour-intensive.
A report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said 9,500 additional jobs could be created in the sector if government fully commits to liberalising the industry.
Some industry players however think a national airline would be a waste of public resources, given the dismal failure of two previous state-owned carriers that collapsed under debt and mismanagement.
Aviation mogul Alhaji Asuma Banda threatened last year to sue the state in court if it goes ahead to create an airline. Alhaji Banda warned that the airline would likely see the same fate as those set up in the past.
Ghana International Airlines (GIA), the last national carrier that was 70-percent owned by government, ceased operations in May 2010 amid financial challenges and a shareholder dispute.
GIA’s predecessor, Ghana Airways, was once a respected regional and international carrier set up in 1958. Years of mismanagement influenced by nepotism and cronyism brought the airline to its knees, and it was finally liquidated in 2005.
The B&FT understands that government’s strategy is to own a minority stake in the new venture, with the private partner managing the business.
Source: B & FT