Business News of Monday, 25 February 2013
Some staff of the ailing State Transport Company (STC) Limited have begun immobilising buses and stealing vehicle parts belonging to the company, the B&FT has learned.
Vital components of buses parked in the company’s workshop located on its premises in Accra have been removed, while some buses have been immobilised by unscrupulous engineers.
For instance, an entire wiring system of a Scania bus was removed by an unidentified person after management gave notice that it was going to repair the vehicle for use.
“The best that could happen is to pay-off everybody, close down the company for about three months and do the restructuring. New people are employed and break the culture at the place. The culture at STC is serious, and the only way they can break that culture is pay them off and get new people,” a close source said.
The situation calls for immediate action from the majority shareholder of the transport company, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), to save what is left of the once vibrant and profitable company that was the pride of all Ghanaians.
This development comes at a time when SSNIT wants to ‘totally restructure’ the beleaguered transport company.
At the turn of this year, SSNIT paid an estimated GH¢23million to STC’s creditors and suppliers. The payment drastically reduced the debt stock of the transport company which stood at GH¢45million as at October 2012.
Shareholders met late last year to discuss ways of saving the once-vibrant company from imminent collapse. The outcome of the meeting was a resolution that charged SSNIT to absorb STC’s debts -- as it stood as of October 31, 2012.
The resolution also mandated SSNIT to provide a working capital of GH¢2million to aid the STC become competitive.
Of the said amount, GH¢7.5million was paid to Prudential Bank to cancel out STC’s indebtedness to the bank. STC in 2005 took a loan facility of US$3.8million from the Prudential Bank at a 12 percent interest for the purchase of 45 Faw buses.
SSNIT has also paid GH¢5.1million to the National Investment Bank (NIB); GH¢554,000 to Agricultural Development Bank (ADB); and GH¢1.7million to Businessman Mr. Svani. It has also settled the six months outstanding salaries of STC’s staff which stood at GH¢1,660,000.
The pension manager has also settled STC’s indebtedness to J.A. Plant Pool. J.A.Plant Pool Limited in May immobilised 20 buses of STC owing to the inability of the company to service its debts. Per the arrangement to refinance the debt, STC had to pay GH¢17,500 daily to J.A. Plant Pool -- but due to the decline in revenues it was not able to honour the payments.
SSNIT has directed STC’s creditors to directly negotiate with it for settlement of any other outstanding debt.
STC currently operate a fleet of 30 buses and requires a minimum of 100 buses to operate at its optimum.