Transport Minister Nominee, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah says his outfit will reconsider the proposal to create a free port at Atuabo in the Western region to assess its contribution to the development of the country’s transport sector.
Mr. Asiamah explains that the project should propel private sector growth if its operations are streamlined in order not to interfere with the work of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).Kwaku Ofori Asiamah made the remarks during his vetting by Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Thursday.
“I think there was an issue between the GPHA and the company developing the Atuabo free port. I may not have all the facts as I’m talking to you know but if I’m confirmed by this House, I will call for a full briefing and if it is that we can harmonize the two institutions for our development, we will do so.”
The conception to operate a free port dedicated to oil and gas at Atuabo, has been met with heavy opposition.
For instance in July 2014, some Members of Parliament filed a lawsuit seeking that the project is restrained.
The move also followed government’s decision to suspend a further expansion of the Takoradi Port to allow for construction works at Atuabo.
The case was subsequently dismissed by the court.
But appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah stressed that the probe will protect the interest of the state.
“It is true that I have heard of Atuabo trying to develop a free port in this country…My basic interest is that NPP believes in private partnership in our developmental agenda so any private person who wants to in and help us develop our economy, I will embrace it but it should not be to the detriment of a state institution.”
The Atuabo Free Port is projected to be the gateway to West Africa’s offshore oil and gas industry and a regional hub supporting the activities of not only the upstream oil and gas companies but also the service companies that support them.
The project is estimated to cost 700 million dollars.