BUSINESS: Oil coys dump domestic airlines
|Airplane on Domestic Flight|| |
When partners in the Jubilee oil fields went to the Osu Castle in Accra, somewhere in 2007, to announce the discovery of oil in Ghana, many were those who hailed the news with great expectations that it would bring about business boom in the country.
But, four years down the line, and almost a year after extraction of the black gold started, the local business community, especially the airline industry, has begun complaining about the unfair treatment and marginalisation by the oil companies.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Antrak Group of Companies, Alhaji Asuma Banda told The Chronicle in a telephone interview last week Friday that the mining companies operating in the Jubilee fields had cleverly dumped the local airline industry in favour of foreign ones.
According to him, it was only foreign airlines that were providing chartered services for the oil companies, a decision, which is at variance with the local content policy being pursued by the government.
The business magnate noted that anytime the local airlines approached the oil companies for business, they were directed to South African companies, which are their competitors, to audit their operations.
He noted that because these foreign companies also have interest in the business, they always fail them.
The most annoying aspect of it all, he noted, was that after asking the local airlines to put certain features in place, these South African companies would still go ahead to fail them, or come out with another proposal just to frustrate them.
Mr. Asuma Banda further told The Chronicle that the local airlines go through rigorous procedures before being granted licenses to operate domestic flights by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
This means that they meet all the safety requirements expected of them, yet a foreign company is denying them business in the oil industry.
According to him, they had officially lodged a complaint about the unhealthy treatment being meted out to them to the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and hoped something would be done about the development, for the local airlines, which employ a substantial number of Ghanaians, to also take advantage of the booming oil industry.
The CEO of the Antrak Group of Companies, who is also a Member of the Council of State, noted that Nigeria had a similar experience when the oil industry started, and because the government failed to act on it, foreign airlines had now taken over the business from the local ones, with some of them making millions of dollars a month.
According to him, information reaching him indicates that the company which is operating chartered services for the oil companies intends to set up a domestic airline in Ghana, when the local ones are being denied business.
To him the over-liberalisation of the Ghana’s air space would not serve the interest of the country, and called on the appropriate authorities to intervene and protect the local airline industry.