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16.08.2004 General News

Ghana Airways: What Task Force Again?!

By Accra Mail

Last Friday, the state-owned Daily Graphic reported on its front page that the government had appointed a "Four-member task force to run Ghana Airways".

The board had been dissolved and the new task force would combine its role with that of " the day-to-day administration of the beleaguered national airline " We are happy that at least some action's being taken to stem the chaos at the airline.

But, intriguingly, the story, quoting a source, said the government had "decided to absorb the debt of the airline, amounting to $160 million".

And even more confusing, "the source said in the short and medium term, the government would begin negotiations to re-equip the airline with a modern fleet of aircraft " Some manna must have suddenly dropped to improve the fortunes of Ghana Airways that we can now absorb the debt of US$160 million and even promise to bring in a modern fleet to re-equip the airline.

If that's the case, then really, it must be good news to us all, but frankly, we are sceptical. It looks more like a stalling exercise. The Minister of Transport, Dr Anane, must eschew the shyness and come out with details to rest not only Ghanaian uncertainties but also restore some confidence to non-Ghanaians who have been using the airline and those desirous of investing in the airline.

It seems to us that there is some monumental inability to face up to the fact that Ghana Airways has become a dodo and must be allowed to go into extinction. Is this new initiative a policy that Ghana Airways would not be divested?

The niggling question is how the government is going to "absorb" the US$160 million debt.

The other equally mind-boggling question is how and where Ghana is going to get the money for the "modern fleet of aircraft."

We are getting worried that sentimentalism may be winning out in our decision regarding Ghana Airways.

The Graphic story is not enough. The story rather raises more questions than provides answers. The sector minister, Dr Anane must come out with the details of his new plans concerning his "Task Force" and how that would be any different from all the other aborted take offs in the airline's management these past three and a half years.

The handling of Ghana Airways, with all the NPP government's best intensions has been more of nibbling and no bite. This new task force, we fear, is another nibble.

From a managerial standpoint it won't work. How do you pluck busy chief executives from their full plates to handle an even fuller plate? A committee (or task force) does not solve such problems.

Get a strong and independent chief executive and give him or her the job and time limit with a clear mandate and we are sure the job will be done. But first things first: Are we saying that Ghana Airways is going to be business as usual or are we making a fundamental break?

Things are not very clear.

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