The Western Regional Coordinating council has announced a number of measures being initiated to maximize the benefits of Ghana’s oil and contain the influx of persons and the pressure that would be on infrastructure there.
Chief Director of the Council, Mr David Yaro, mentioned refresher courses for lawyers, building a new regional hospital and reinforcing security personnel in the region among others.
He disclosed that owing to the increasing population as a result of the burgeoning oil business, Sekondi-Takoradi (popularly referred to as the Twin City where most of the activities would be centred) would be redeveloped to reduce the stress on its social amenities including the road network.
“Like the Twin City here, they are redeveloping the city to see how they can ease congestion and all those things,” Mr Yaro told a team of Ghanaian and Ugandan journalists undergoing training in Ghana’s oil and gas sector under the auspices of Revenue Watch Institute and Thompson Reuters Foundation in January.
Taking into consideration the current population in the region – 2,325,597 according to the recently released provisional result of the 2010 population census – the regional hospital at Effia Nkwanta has been overstretched, necessitating the need for a bigger health facility.
Expatiating, Mr Yaro noted that a vast stretch of land has been acquired for a new ultra modern regional hospital, possibly to be sited in the Shama district.
“Right now we have finished with negotiation to build a new ultra modern regional hospital, then what we have here at Effia Nkwanta will become a local or metropolitan hospital. So we will have two hospitals, one will be well at a national standard and the other will perform the normal [hospital duties]. We have another hospital that has been upgraded, a new one has also been built in Tarkwa.”
He said the drawings of the hospital “have been submitted” and donor assistance is being sought for its construction.
A request has also been placed for extra police force in the region to combat crime and maintain order. Mr Yaro further stated that the legal system in the region is being redesigned; subsequently some lawyers were sent outside the country for a year’s training to handle oil and gas cases.
He remarked: “Education, water, our road network need to be expanded because the volume of traffic is going to increase, sanitation, crime – putting pressure on existing facilities. So all these are areas, politically, we are looking at, so the police are being equipped, the navy is being resourced to [protect Ghana’s marine].”