Business News of Thursday, 3 December 2015
Parliament last Tuesday ratified an agreement between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on one hand and the KBC Bank NV, Belfius Bank SA/NV, Deutsche Bank AG (London Branch ) and BNP Paribas Fortis NV/SA for 160 million euros to finance the additional civil and dredging works at Takoradi Port.
The House also approved a loan agreement between the government and Raifessen Bank International AG of Austria for 23 million euros for the construction and equipping of 10 polyclinics in the Central Region.
The 160 million euros approved by the House brings to 357 million euros the amount of money approved for the Takoradi Port expansion project.
The entire amount would be paid by the GPHA from its cash flows without recourse to the Consolidated Fund.
According to the report of the Finance Committee of Parliament on the Takoradi Port civil works agreement, in addition to the fact that the oil and gas activities presented immense and urgent need for port infrastructure, the port’s structures had deteriorated beyond their economic service limits.
Quoting the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari, it said the manganese and bauxite terminals in the port of Takoradi currently were not in the best of conditions.
The physical marine structures at the ore terminals, it said, had failed structurally and could collapse at any time with high consequences for the national economy.
It said the everyday double handling of bulk ore manganese, bauxite and clinker, for example had been unnecessarily expensive and was actually presenting losses rather than gains to the nation.
The report further stated that several commercial requests for space and port infrastructure in Takoradi had been turned down due to the obvious lack of space and facilities.
The loan, it said, would, therefore, go a long way to position the port to become more commercially viable.
With regard to the 23 million euros approved for the construction and equipping of 10 polyclinics in the Central Region, a report of the committee, presented by its Chairman,Mr James Klutse Avedzi, said the choice of the Central Region to benefit from the project stemmed from the fact that the region was most deprived in terms of healthcare infrastructure.
Quoting the Minister of Health,Mr Alex Segbefia, the report said there was evidence that physical access to health care posed a great challenge and there were huge service provision gaps due to the absence of health facilities at the proposed sites.
The situation, it added, posed a great danger since people had to travel long distances to access health care, especially with the operation of health insurance where people should have easy access to health facilities.