The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said that even though Ghana is open for business, indigenous Ghanaian businesses will be given the edge.
“The push for local content is a necessity. Our local people will not be left behind. Nonetheless, the government encourages mutually beneficial partnerships,” he said.
The Vice-President said this when he cut the sod for work to commence on the US$42-million Western Corridor Fibre Project in Takoradi being undertaken by Spectrum Fibre Company Limited, an indigenous Ghanaian company.
“Our government has continued to deepen efforts to expand local content through the participation of local companies in active sectors such as ICT and strategic industries," he said.
He observed that Ghana’s digitisation efforts rested on the back of having a necessary fibre optic infrastructure.
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“It is an indispensable condition if we are to make e-governance and e-commerce a reality. We are talking of a national ID system, a digital address system and digitising the registration of land title and administration, among others. We have come to the realisation that our best pathway to formalise the economy is through digitisation,” he added.
Dr Bawumia, therefore, encouraged the private sector to take a cue from the bold step taken by Spectrum Fibre to leverage the opportunities that the project provided for new economic streams of businesses within the Western corridor.
Private sector led initiative
Dr Bawumia said the private sector-led initiative dovetailed into the government’s agenda of ensuring that unserved and under-served areas in the country achieved broadband access.
“We will continue to explore and encourage public-private partnerships in all our digitisation efforts,” he emphasised, and expressed the hope that the project would lead to affordable telecommunication services.
He urged all stakeholders, including traditional authorities, to give the project their support and make sure it was executed successfully.
Dr Bawumia commended the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) for supporting private sector initiatives which paved the way for infrastructural projects to be undertaken without relying on the national budget.
The Chief Executive of Spectrum Fibre, Mr Frank Osei-Wusu, said the company would, as much as possible, use local competence to execute the first phase of the project.
He commended the various institutional stakeholders for their support.
“Ghana is, indeed, open for business. It is heartwarming that help and financial support are available when private businesses need them,” he said.
The project is being undertaken by Spectrum Fibre, in partnership with Huawei and the GIIF.
Huawei is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, with GIIF being the financier.
The project involves developing, financing, constructing and operating an ultra-modern broadband communication infrastructure covering the Western corridor of the country.
The first phase will involve laying an 881-kilometre inland fibre optic cable for an extensive broadband network along the Western corridor from Takoradi through Atuabo, Elubo, Enchi Amoya, Asawinso, Sefwi Wiawso, Bibiani through to Goaso, Berekum and Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region to link up to Kumasi to complete the loop.
It is to be completed in 18 months.
The second phase will involve laying under-sea cables to provide connectivity and ICT services for various offshore projects and FPSOs at commercially competitive values.