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Boankra Inland Port Project Stalls 18 Years After Sod-Cutting   
 
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04-Oct-2019  
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It was expected to be a transformational project for the people of Boankra and the nation, but 18 years after the ceremonial sod-cutting which was done with pomp and ceremony, the Boankra Inland Port has virtually become a mirage as a result of neglect.

The few primary structures that were completed on the massive 400 acres earmarked for the project are the Boankra Shippers Centre/Administration Block, the extension of electricity, water and telephone and the construction of a temporary access road connecting the inland port to the Kumasi-Konongo highway.

Meanwhile, all these structures have suffered some form of deterioration.

The long years of inactivity on the site has compelled the chiefs and the people of the area to virtually give up on the project, with some of the residents demanding their lands back if the government is no longer interested in the project.

The Ejisuhene, Nana Oguakro Afrane Okese IV, whose area of jurisdiction extends to Boankra, told the Daily Graphic: “I am sick and tired of always asking when the project will be tackled.”

According to him, he expected the current government to at least try to finish the project, since the people in the government were part of the Kufuor administration that started it.

However, he said, anytime he enquired about the status of the project from the Ministry of Transport, “it is the same old story: ‘we are on it’’’.

The Omanhene said even though he wanted the project to be completed to create jobs for the people in the area, there was very little he could do.

All not lost

In January 1996, then President Jerry John Rawlings cut the sod for the construction of an inland port at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, but due to litigation over the land, the project was moved to Boankra, with works formally beginning in 2001.

The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), which is the main supervisory agency for the project, however, said all was not lost and that everything was being done to bring the project back on stream.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck, told the Daily Graphic in Tema yesterday that the authority was presently going through public-private partnership (PPP) processes to bring life to the project.

"Once that is completed, a concessionaire will be chosen to do a budget for the project," she said.

She, however, declined further comment, saying: “If you [Daily Graphic] want a full interview on the subject matter, you should schedule an appropriate time for it.”

Expected benefits

The GSA, in partnership with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), initiated the inland port project to link the ports of Tema and Takoradi to the inner parts of the country and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

It was expected to be a free port that would combine unimodal and inter-modal operations aimed at easing congestion at Ghana’s seaports and thereby facilitate the transit trade of Ghana’s landlocked neighbours.

The expected benefits of the inland port include a reduction in the generalised transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of Ghana, including the Sahel sub-region; increased exportation of produce such as cola nuts, shea butter, cocoa and cocoa products, wood and wood products; the promotion of the establishment of export processing zones in the vicinity of the inland port; assisting in the provision of up-to-date infrastructure to meet current developments and technological changes in the shipping industry.

Despair

The Ejisuhene said the land for the project had already been acquired and it was up to the government to use it for the intended project.

He said what became of the land was entirely the responsibility of the government and that there was very little he, as a chief, could do about it.

Nana Okese said the leadership of the GSA had been to his palace on two occasions to assure him that the project would soon be tackled, “but I am yet to see any progress of work there”.

He said since the administration of President Kufuor left power, there had not been any work at the project site.

Assembly member

For his part, the Assembly Member for the Boankra Electoral Area, Mr William Obeng, said the delay in the completion of the project was a complete disappointment to the people of the area, who had so much expectation.

He stated that most of the residents were farmers who lost their lands to the project but were hopeful that it would offer them alternative sources of livelihood.

However, he said, their hopes had been dashed after waiting for more than a decade for the project to be completed.

It was expected to be a transformational project for the people of Boankra and the nation, but 18 years after the ceremonial sod-cutting which was done with pomp and ceremony, the Boankra Inland Port has virtually become a mirage as a result of neglect.

The few primary structures that were completed on the massive 400 acres earmarked for the project are the Boankra Shippers Centre/Administration Block, the extension of electricity, water and telephone and the construction of a temporary access road connecting the inland port to the Kumasi-Konongo highway.

Meanwhile, all these structures have suffered some form of deterioration.

The long years of inactivity on the site has compelled the chiefs and the people of the area to virtually give up on the project, with some of the residents demanding their lands back if the government is no longer interested in the project.

The Ejisuhene, Nana Oguakro Afrane Okese IV, whose area of jurisdiction extends to Boankra, told the Daily Graphic: “I am sick and tired of always asking when the project will be tackled.”

According to him, he expected the current government to at least try to finish the project, since the people in the government were part of the Kufuor administration that started it.

However, he said, anytime he enquired about the status of the project from the Ministry of Transport, “it is the same old story: ‘we are on it’’’.

The Omanhene said even though he wanted the project to be completed to create jobs for the people in the area, there was very little he could do.

All not lost

In January 1996, then President Jerry John Rawlings cut the sod for the construction of an inland port at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, but due to litigation over the land, the project was moved to Boankra, with works formally beginning in 2001.

The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), which is the main supervisory agency for the project, however, said all was not lost and that everything was being done to bring the project back on stream.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck, told the Daily Graphic in Tema yesterday that the authority was presently going through public-private partnership (PPP) processes to bring life to the project.

"Once that is completed, a concessionaire will be chosen to do a budget for the project," she said.

She, however, declined further comment, saying: “If you [Daily Graphic] want a full interview on the subject matter, you should schedule an appropriate time for it.”

Expected benefits

The GSA, in partnership with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), initiated the inland port project to link the ports of Tema and Takoradi to the inner parts of the country and the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

It was expected to be a free port that would combine unimodal and inter-modal operations aimed at easing congestion at Ghana’s seaports and thereby facilitate the transit trade of Ghana’s landlocked neighbours.

The expected benefits of the inland port include a reduction in the generalised transport cost of international cargo to importers and exporters from the middle and northern parts of Ghana, including the Sahel sub-region; increased exportation of produce such as cola nuts, shea butter, cocoa and cocoa products, wood and wood products; the promotion of the establishment of export processing zones in the vicinity of the inland port; assisting in the provision of up-to-date infrastructure to meet current developments and technological changes in the shipping industry.

Despair

The Ejisuhene said the land for the project had already been acquired and it was up to the government to use it for the intended project.

He said what became of the land was entirely the responsibility of the government and that there was very little he, as a chief, could do about it.

Nana Okese said the leadership of the GSA had been to his palace on two occasions to assure him that the project would soon be tackled, “but I am yet to see any progress of work there”.

He said since the administration of President Kufuor left power, there had not been any work at the project site.

Assembly member

For his part, the Assembly Member for the Boankra Electoral Area, Mr William Obeng, said the delay in the completion of the project was a complete disappointment to the people of the area, who had so much expectation.

He stated that most of the residents were farmers who lost their lands to the project but were hopeful that it would offer them alternative sources of livelihood.

However, he said, their hopes had been dashed after waiting for more than a decade for the project to be completed.


 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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