Three different bodies have held separate conferences to commend the government for the intended construction of a Free Port at Atuabo in the Ellembelle district of the Western Region as it would go a long way to boost the nation’s socio-economic development.
They are the Nzema Youth for Peace and Development (NYPD), Ghana Oil/Gas Service Providers Association (GOGSPA), and the Maritime and Dockworkers Union (MDU).
The 650 million dollar project with Ghana’s share of 45 percent is to be constructed by LONHRO PC, a British Company and is expected to provide services for the Oil and Gas Industry.
The NYPD and GOGSPA believe that the project would offer employment for the youth, increase infrastructure in the region, especially in the Nzemaland and also open up the area for trade on the local and international market, thereby transforming the local economy of the district and environs.
Mr Nuertey Adzeman, Executive Director of the GOGSPA said even though the country has two ports; one each in Tema and Takoradi, they were not built with oil and gas in mind as the product had not been found then.
In that regard, a third port which has facilities for the purpose would not only help ease congestion at the two ports but would turn Ghana into an oil and gas hub within the West African sub region.
Mr Adzeman noted that the Atuabo port is in line with the decentralization programme to bring development at the door steps of the people which would among others check rural urban drift.
According to him, the master plan would incorporate areas for logistics and subsea fabrication yards, rig/vessel repairs, heavy duty engineering services as well support services with airstrip among others.
Mr Abizi Morkeh, president of the NYPD expressed optimism that LONRHO would honour its commitment to its social corporate responsibility as it has started showing signs of that.
“The investors have begun paying their widows mite to the deprived communities in the Ellembelle district by upgrading some clinics, building antenatal wards at the Eikwe hospital”, he stated.
On the other hand, Mr Isaac Klu, Tema branch chairman of the MDU indicated that even though the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) is not against the development of the Atuabo Free Port project it would want to partner LONRHO in the contract to execute its mandate.
He explained that the GPHA by the PNDC law 160 of 1986 has the mandate to build, manage, control and maintain ports therefore sideling GPHA would not be in the best interest of the institution and Ghanaians as a whole.
The bodies appealed to parliament to expedite proceedings on the project for its commencement.