The old EDC facility
Officials of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) have finally relocated assets of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) from its former building at Airport Ridge, near Takoradi to GNPC’s warehouse house in Sekondi after the recent brouhaha about the issue.
EDC is a Private Public Partnership between Tullow Oil and government through GNPC.
The Centre had state-of-the-art equipment to train small scale enterprises to secure contracts in the oil industry.
It would be recalled that some officials of GNPC allegedly went to the EDC building on Friday, January 27, 2017 and attempted to move out some valuable equipment but personnel from the BNI and Police CID prevented them.
The GNPC staff claimed they were under instructions to move the equipment to avoid accumulation of rent since the building that housed EDC belonged to one John Kwasi Donkor, and the rent was due to expire.
“The assets of the EDC are being moved out because the tenancy agreement between Tullow Ghana and the landlord would expire in January 2017 and also the Ministry decided not to pay $6,000 per month as rent to the landlord but seek a more affordable alternative,” GNPC claimed.
Meanwhile, the landlord has said that he has written several emails to GNPC and Tullow to inform them that he was would to let the equipment be kept in the building for free until the current government settles down and decides what to do with the centre.
Mr Donkor also said the lease agreement between him and Tullow was for five years and renewable for two years, ending 2020, so the claim that it expires on February 1, 2017 was untenable.
The landlord, who was not enthused by the alleged move by GNPC, remarked “I think I sought the best for this country and the Ghanaian SMEs in particular. But what can I do when my offer of free accommodation is rejected with a resolve to pack the items in a warehouse.”
Speaking to journalists, Nuertey Agyeman, Executive Director of Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association, said that GNPC was not stealing the equipment from EDC as being speculated.
He disclosed that Tullow Oil operated the centre for five years and suspended operations in August, 2016, adding that the Energy Ministry, under the previous government, asked GNPC to take over the centre just before the change of government.
“For the time being, the assets of EDC would be kept at the GNPC’s warehouse in Sekondi, but I can assure you within three to four months, a decision will be taken on them while we look for funds to continue or restart the centre again,” he added.
He continued, “I want to allay the fears of SMEs, particularly those in the Western Region that the centre will still remain in the region and will not be moved to the Greater Accra as some people have said.”
There were reports that officials of the GNPC failed to inform the new government about the existence of the $5 million public-private partnership (PPP) project in Takoradi in their handing over notes to the new administration.
The GNPC explained that it did not capture Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) in its handing over notes because it was still in talks with individuals at the Energy Ministry, who were in charge of EDC.
In a press release signed by its Communication Officer, King Adawu Wellington, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, said the $5 million project was rather captured in its handing over notes to the Transition Team.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi