Government is hopeful that by the end of the year, an agreement would be reached with a suitable strategic investor to finance the rehabilitation of the Tema Shipyard to the desired international standard.
Speaking on Eye on Port, the Minister of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah said his outfit is returning to the market in search of potential investors with the expected financial muscle and technical expertise to invest and position the Tema Shipyard to provide ship repair and building services for the maritime industry.
He revealed that, initial efforts for the oil and gas company, Aker Energy to take up the Shipyard did not materialize.
“Aker Energy who has just come to the country, they thought that they would need the Shipyard to help with their operations in the Jubilee Fields. They proposed that we give them the Shipyard so they will transform it to international standard. We were comfortable with that, and held extensive discussions with them all the way to Parliament. Only for them in the latter part of 2019 to say they cannot continue,” Mr. Asiamah narrated.
According to him, this undesirable outcome, coupled with the unprecedented introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic, stalled a lot of progress made to obtain a strategic investor that would partner government for the rehabilitation of the Tema Shipyard.
Mr. Asiamah emphasized the need for government not to settle for anything below USD 50 Million as initial capital investment for the Shipyard, and is keen to ensure that whoever is procured is ready and committed to realize the vision of Government for the Shipyard.
The Transport Minister said the Shipyard when built will consolidate Ghana’s geographical location on the West Coast of Africa and take advantage of West Africa- bound vessels for ship repair facilities, retaining revenue in the country.
“If you take a look at our region, from Mauritania to Cameroon, I think the Tema Shipyard is the only Shipyard in terms of the structure and size from what Kwame Nkrumah did in the 60s,” Mr. Asiamah expressed.
He however assured the employees of the Tema Shipyard of continued employment while government works assiduously to bring in a strategic investor to transform the facility to world class standard.
The Minister of Transport who has just begun his second term in office, has also taken up the Aviation sector following a merger of the two ministries.
He revealed that works are ongoing to expand Ghana’s airports in Kumasi, Tamale, Sunyani and Ho, to create the fundamental infrastructure needed to serve the Aviation Industry.
Kweku Ofori Asiamah hinted that government is seeking private partnership interested in investing for Ghana-based air carriers and according to him, this is crucial as Ghana seeks to position itself as a commercial capital in Africa.
“The President is so serious in this homebased carrier that is why we have embarked on airport infrastructure development. We are bringing Tamale for example to a first class international airport,” he disclosed.
Mr. Asiamah said 3 out of 4 berths of the MPS Terminal 3 have been completed and are already operational giving Ghana a major competitive advantage in international trade in terms of port facility.
“For the first time in the history of West Africa, we have what we call the panamax vessel dock in our port which is very significant.”
He revealed that the construction of the Atlantic Multipurpose Terminal at the Port of Takoradi is almost complete and expected to open between the middle and end of the year 2021.
The Transport Minister also said the first tranche of funding has also been secured for the construction of the Boankra Inland Port and physical construction will begin soon despite early challenges associated with the procurement processes.
He said, “not only will this project aid trade in the middle belt, but it would facilitate the creation of an industrial hub around the Boankra area.”
The Hon. Kweku Ofori Asiamah, also revealed that the Government of Ghana has earmarked three towns, namely Ekumfi Otuam, Osu, and Mfantseman for the construction of modern fish landing sites, making the total number of such projects along the coastal regions of Ghana, fourteen (14).