Work on the $100 million Greater Kumasi Industrial City Project intended to make Kumasi the country’s second industrial city will commence next month, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Mr Mike Oquaye Jr, has said.
Upon completion, it is expected to create at least 5,000 direct jobs and over 12,000 indirect jobs to grow the local economy.
It is also expected to give companies in some priority sectors the opportunity to operate in the industrial city under the free zone arrangement.
The priority sectors include cocoa processing, light industrial manufacturing, heavy industrial manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, services, and a cyber village.
The funding for the venture is part of a World Bank facility extended to Ghana to develop the Greater Kumasi Industrial Park.
It is being carried out on the 1,099-acre Free Zones Authority plot at Boankra, Ampabame, Edwenase, Abenase, Donaso, Hwereso and Aduakorokyere, all in the Ejisu Traditional Area.
Currently, the World Bank has engaged consultants, in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to undertake several exercises, including site assessment, best practice benchmarking, environmental and social impact assessment to get the project started on time while on-ground inspection is scheduled to start from October this year.
During an inspection visit to the Ashanti Region, Mr Oquaye Jr said the land — which was acquired in 2005 as one of Ghana's Export Processing Zones under the Free Zones Authority — was set to receive the needed facelift as Ghana positioned itself as the export hub within the sub-region.
Additionally, he said, the development of the Boankra site would pave the way to establish a social service centre and a bio-technology centre in Greater Kumasi.
Mr Oquaye Jr expressed concern about the activities of encroachers who had erected illegal structures on the land.
He said checks from the Ejisu Municipality and the Regional Minister’s office indicated that no permit had been issued for private development on the said land.
He said the people occupying parts of the land were, therefore, doing so illegally and that action would be taken against them.
Mr Oquaye Jr also noted that the government had signed an MoU with SinoHydro of China for the Greater Kumasi Industrial City and Special Economic Zones.
"The President is committed to developing the Ejisu Industrial Zone and we must work within the given timelines.
“We will, therefore, set plans in motion to ensure that all illegal structures on the site are demolished to pave the way for development,” he said.
During a meeting, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, assured the Free Zones Authority of his support to help make the industrial city project a reality.
He expressed the belief that upon completion, the project would help the country’s industrialisation drive and create jobs for the teeming youth.