President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Sunday cut the sod for the multi-million-dollar Takoradi Port expansion project, saying the initiative was part of Ghana’s efforts to modernise its port facilities in order to step ahead of its competitors in the West African sub-region.
He said currently Ghana’s neighbours, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Senegal, had embarked on port expansion drives to compete for the same market.
“This imposes upon us the need to also modernise our infrastructure, enhance our port capabilities and capacity in order to further our goal of creating a competitive economy which can generate wealth and create jobs for our people.
“What we are witnessing today, if it is well done, will play a significant role in the future of our country. It is, however, gratifying to note that Ghanaian entrepreneurs are championing the project, from the promoters of the concession, the banks and road contractors, and supported by the Ghana Infrastructure Fund,” he added.
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When completed, the facility will be equipped with modern operating equipment, such as ship-to-shore cranes, rubber-type gantry cranes, mobile harbour cranes and a maintenance yard with effective security systems.
The terminal will also have a 510,000-square metre operational area, with 790 metres of quay wall and dredged depth of 16-metres chart datum to handle new container vessels.
Ghana beyond aid
President Nana Akufo-Addo said it was heartwarming to see the country’s industry players team up to execute a project of that nature, adding: “It tells us one thing above all: that those who brought the project this far will be capable of managing it all. It tells me also another thing: that the project Ghana beyond aid is within reach when we bring the values of work, creativity, innovation and collaboration to develop key components of our economy.”
In that spirit, the President said, “we can reach the self-reliant prosperous Ghana which is the dream of the Founding Fathers of our nation and all of us will remember this day as one of the significant sign posts along the path of the Ghana beyond aid”.
Acting GPHA Director-General
The acting Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr Edward Osei, commended the local entities who saw the dream and the need to team up to work towards the project.
As a result of the need to meet the ever-growing demands of its clientele, he said, the Port of Takoradi embarked on a major expansion and hence investment programme to transform its capacity, facilities and operations.
The port, he said, required the berth capabilities of taking vessels at all tidal levels and a correspondent terminal with adequate space, well-equipped and capable of handling cargo of all volumes.
The President also inaugurated the New Takoradi Roundabout and the Takoradi Inner Container Terminal.
Meanwhile, as part of his three-day tour of the Western Region, President Nana Akufo-Addo launched the 2018 Ghana Agriculture Census in Sefwi Wiawso last Friday.
The last agriculture census was conducted some 33 years ago.
The census is to collect data on the agricultural sector to inform the government on the formulation of strategies and policies in the sector.
Speaking at the launch, the President said at a time when there had been dramatic changes in the structure and content of Ghana’s agriculture, policies had largely been based on guesswork.
“It is no wonder that this period witnessed the systematic decline of our agriculture. We cannot afford such neglect again. It is my fervent wish and hope that this 2018 Ghana Census of Agriculture will be the beginning of a new cycle of 10-year censuses, as we used to have,” he said.
The census, a collaborative effort between the Ghana Statistical Service and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will collect, process and disseminate information on the nature and structure of agriculture, availability of agricultural and social services in agricultural communities and the potential and constraints for development in those communities, the better to guide effective policy making.
President Akufo-Addo appealed to the public to give the field personnel the needed support in the discharge of their duties.
He urged traditional rulers, religious leaders and other opinion leaders to assist in the publicity campaign in the ongoing census.
“The success of the census will depend on the efficiency of our field personnel and I thank them for the good work done so far. I am confident that we will succeed in this endeavour if all stakeholders play their respective roles effectively in the implementation of the census,” he said.
The Omanhene of the Sefwi-Wiawso Traditional Area, Okatakyie Kwesi Bumangama, commended the President for the numerous policy interventions he had undertaken aimed at making life bearable for the people.
He mentioned the free senior high school (SHS) policy, the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo), the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, among others, and urged the President to intervene in the wanton exploitation of forest reserves in the area.
Protection of reserves
Okatakyie Bumangama attributed the wanton exploitation of forest reserves to illegal human activities such as galamsey and tree harvesting, which he said would gradually lead to the total destruction of the reserves, a situation he described as a major problem facing the entire Sefwi area.
For his part, the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs and Omanhene of Sefwi Ahwiaso, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi ll, commended the government for the development projects in the region.
He used the opportunity to call on traditional rulers and citizens of the area to support the creation of the Western North Region out of the present Western Region.