The Managing Director of the State Transport Company (STC), Nana Akomea, has expressed the difficulty associated with maintaining the transport company especially as the country battles with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, due to the COVID-19 restrictions encountered in the country, it has resulted in the loss of about GH¢40 million so far to the company.
Nana Akomea explained that the company’s operations in neighbouring countries like the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin, which proved to be very profitable, had to be halted due to the closure of borders as part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
However, he noted that there were great prospects for the company prior to the pandemic. As such, the company is currently operating through all the challenges it is facing.
In a bid to successfully weather the storm, the managing director of STC revealed the company’s new investment of a GH¢1 million terminal in Coutonou, Benin, which happened not long before the pandemic.
“The main problem that we are facing now is that, because of COVID, we have lost nearly GH¢40million since March 2020 as STC…. In March 2020, the borders were closed, and our francophone businesses give us GH¢2.5 million each month.
“We bought a big terminal in Cotonou and the borders were shut… Abidjan’s operations alone were enough to pay our salaries… all of that is gone. So, every month we lose GH¢2.5 million from March up till September, and we are still losing. When the lockdown was lifted, we were asked to do social distancing for five months. Meanwhile, the cost of operation is the same. We lost nearly GH¢8 million in those five months. So it has been difficult”.Nana Akomea
Government’s support to STC
Nana Akomea further noted the company’s efforts in diversifying and making the most of the situation. With this, he acknowledged the GH¢10 million COVID-19 relief fund received from the government and noted that the company is working hard to sustain its operation.
“Government gave us GH¢10 million as support… We don’t know when the borders will open, so we are taking measures to diversify the terminals in Ghana to make up for the loss of the terminals in francophone countries. We just did a nice terminal in Cape Coast which should be opening soon”.Nana Akomea
STC has, since the pandemic undergone some difficult times. In April last year, it sought to engage with its transport unions and government to determine how salaries could be paid following the lockdown.
The lockdown which lasted 21 days negatively affected the operations of STC and the ripple effect was felt as operations were put on hold during the period.
Speaking in an interview then, Nana Akomea revealed that management had to engage with staff as the lockdown had adversely affected the company’s operations.
He revealed that government in consultation with the finance team sat down with the unions to agree on a 50% payment plan to the staff.
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