The government’s quest to secure a viable investor to finance the development of the Boankra Inland Port project in the Ashanti Region is progressing steadily.
So far, seven out of 29 investors that showed interest in the project have been shortlisted.
The shortlisted firms have subsequently been directed to present their proposals and a comprehensively drafted concession agreement for the development of the project under a build, operate and transfer arrangement.
The project is being spearheaded by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) in partnership with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
At a pre-bid conference on the development of the Boankra Inland Port project by GSA on August 16, in Accra, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Titus Glover, observed that the event marked another important milestone for the country in its efforts to strengthen public private partnership (PPP) as a way of financing public infrastructure project for accelerated development.
“This, however, gives the government a great pleasure for the response of the potential investors gathered here to partner the government in the development agenda of the country,” he said.
The deputy minister maintained that the government was committed to the completion of the project and it was for that reason that it was leaving no stone unturned.
According to him, the government would not allow the investment made in the project so far to go to waste, and that it was determined to complete the work.
He indicated that the project held a lot of prospects for the country and the people living in and around the community.
He stated that it would reduce the pressure on our roads as landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso and Niger would not have to travel all the way to Tema to cart their goods.
The deputy minister added that it would open up the area for more economic activities and also create jobs for the youth.
“There will also be opportunities for operators in the hospitality industry and other service providers to set up businesses for the transiting drivers,” he indicated.
GSA woo investors
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck, said the authority had invested some huge sums of money in the project and would, therefore, not let it go to waste.
She disclosed that the authority had fulfilled all of its obligations to the landowners by rebuilding schools which were pulled down to pave way for the project.
Taking the investors through some of the potentials of the project, she said there were no outstanding issues as far as the land was concerned and that they had duly paid all compensations.
Located on a 400-acre land, the project is expected to create over 1,000 jobs and also facilitate the development of Boankra and its surroundings towns.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings cut the sod for the construction of the project at Fumesua in 1996 but due to litigation over the land, the project had to be moved to its current location at Boankra where work formally began in 2001.
It is expected to link the ports of Tema and Takoradi to the northern and landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali and also ease congestion at the ports, especially the Tema Port.
The project is not only expected to boost economic activities but also to create employment, ease congestion on the road and reduce the high cost of transporting goods and services up north on the roads.