18 February 2013

Liberia: 'No Ghanaian Consultancy Firm'

The management of the National Port Authority (NPA) has clarified that no Ghanaian firm was hired by its management,a contrary to a recent media report that the NPA's Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker contracted a Ghanaian consultancy firm to provide training services in the areas of finance, marine and operation.

The report quoting sources purportedly close to the office of the NPA's MD alleged that four consultants headed by Mr. Ben Owosu were hired in the areas of land tendering, finance, operations and marine services.

The 'report' said, "Our source disclosed that the six-month contract was done outside competitive bidding process which contravenes the Public Procurement Concession Commission regulations."

The media 'report' also alleged that the consultants are currently being shuttered in the premises of MD Parker in Mamba Point and rental is currently being paid to her personal account by the NPA.

In response to the allegation, Madam Parker said the "NPA did not hire any Ghanaian consultancy firm to provide services to NPA." But she admitted that the Ghanaians are in the country and not at the expense of the NPA.

"We did not hire a Ghanaian firm. Two years ago, we hired a Danish firm to do the twenty-five year port master plan. The twenty-five year port master plan, at the end, had a component for training. When they came during their last visit, we had to provide them with the type of skilled set of the people we have because they cannot just give you a master plan and you are expected to execute on the master plan, if you don't have the capacity to do so," MD Parker explained.

The NPA's boss also explained that as a result of this, the Danish firm, NIRAS Ltd, after their assessment, said "look, in lure of providing training on the master plan, the better way to spend your cash is on training your resources on critical areas that they would need strength."

She said therefore, it was necessary for the NPA's management to use the apportioned funds for capacity building training of a set of NPA's employees who will be responsible for implementing the master plan at no extra cost.

She said against this backdrop that the Danish firm suggested that port experts from within the West African sub-region be hired because the port systems in Europe and other Western regions are different from those in Africa.

On the allegation of using her house to lodge the consultants, MD Parker said, the experts arrived in the country when the UN High Level Panel (HLP) meeting was on and finding a suitable place for them was difficult. So, she suggested that her home be used to host the guests and that the NPA management is not paying any money in this regard, except for feeding and other basic necessities, adding that the NPA is not responsible for their service cost.

NIRAS is an international, multidisciplinary consultancy company with over 1,300 employees in Europe, Asia and Africa. NIRAS was founded in 1956 by graduate engineers Jørgen Kristian Nielsen and Konrad Rauschenberger. Today, NIRAS is one of the leading consultancy companies in Denmark.

The company's domestic market is the Baltic region, working from companies in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Russia and Ukraine. NIRAS has completed projects in over 180 countries and, to support international projects, the company has offices in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

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