President Akufo-Addo has applauded the management and staff of the former State Transport Company (STC), now Intercity STC Coaches Ltd (ISTC), for their agenda to wean themselves off government subvention by the close of the year 2020.
The president was addressing the staff of ISTC on day three of his four-day tour of the Greater Accra Region, before commissioning a hundred new buses procured to beef up the ISTC fleet,
President Akufo-Addo said he is extremely excited about ISTC’s prospects. He made the comment in response to a statement by the managing director of the company, Nana Akomea, to the effect that the organisation is on course to stand on its own feet.
“The reason for my happiness is because of the story that the chief executive officer told of a state-owned company that is determined to stand on its own feet, pay its way in the world and contribute rather than be dependent on the public exchequer,” President Akufo-Addo said.
STC boss’s patriotism
President Akufo-Addo noted that his plan for the managing director of Intercity STC Coaches Ltd, Nana Akomea, when he assumed office, was to appoint him as an ambassador. He recalled that Nana Akomea however proposed that he work at STC instead to transform the organisation, which until 2017 had been struggling to stay afloat.
“He is a very senior member of our NPP family, a former minister, and I wanted him to take his experience and abilities abroad to help our country,” the president said.
“He told me that he had a different proposal for me if I would accept it, and the proposal was that he will forgo going abroad and stay here and take over the running of STC. I am happy to say today that he is doing a great job.”
Knocked off course by COVID
The managing director of Intercity STC Coaches Ltd noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a harsh impact on ISTC’s revenues.
However, he pledged that with government support to pay salaries of ISTC staff until December 2020, the company will operate the new buses efficiently and have no need, from January 2021, to require any form of government support.
“So it is appropriate that today, the president himself will be here to commission the buses for us so that we will start working.
“We are going to spread throughout the country. All the defunct STC terminals all over the country are coming back,” Nana Akomea said.
ADB participation and support
In a brief statement, John Kofi Mensah, managing director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), observed that, with the great work done since 2017 by the ISTC board, management and staff to bring Intercity STC Coaches Ltd back to life, ADB did not hesitate when approached by the management for assistance to help augment the company’s fleet of buses.
“An amount of US$13 million was spent in acquiring these brand new buses with a three-year repayment arrangement,” Dr Mensah said.
“I wish to commend the Office of the President, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance for the waiver of port charges of about GHC25 million on the buses, which would have been transferred on to patrons of the STC bus service,” Dr Mensah added.
“We are aware the management of Intercity STC Coaches Ltd have opened more terminals nationwide, and this gives us optimism that they will repay back the loan facility even before the three-year period so they can access more funds for more buses in the competitive sector they find themselves,” he said.
Click on the link to listen to President Akufo-Addo.
Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio