Transport Minister-designate Kwasi Ofori Asiamah has assured that the deteriorated Dambai ferry in the Krachi East District of the Volta Region will be replaced soon.
He indicated having been briefed by the staff at the ministry that a new ferry will be dispatched to the area to replace the dilapidating one in use next week.
Mr Asiamah said this when he appeared before the Appointment’s Committee of Parliament on Thursday to be vetted for the position.
He said this when answering a question from New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Krachi East, Michael Gyato about what is being done to ensure easy transport on the river from Dambai.
The ferry transports vehicles, goods and people across the River Volta from Dambai to other areas of the Krachi District. It breaks down frequently as a result of deterioration and poor maintenance, a situation which usually results in the Krachi area being cut off from the rest of the country.
It would be recalled that in October last year, President Akufo-Addo, then flagbearer of the NPP who was on a campaign tour to Krachi got stranded for several hours along the banks of the river because the Dambai ferry had broken down.
Mr. Gyato told Joy News the ferry, the only one in the area, has not seen any repair works since it was first brought there about 15 years ago.
“The wooden materials are all rotten. The ram is out of use. And the pontoon cannot work more than once a day. They always have to come back to repair it before they can make another trip,” he said.
The Volta Lake Transport Company (VLTC), a government entity, manages the ferry and general transportation on the Volta River for commercial purposes. People pay to transport goods and vehicles over the river.
The MP does not understand why the company has not been able to replace the ferry despite several complaints from residents.
“We shouldn’t wait for people to lose their lives before we call on government. This is not an issue of government. The VLTC is a whole company with a management that is working for profit. We should put pressure on the management of the company to fix this,” Mr. Gyato said.
According to the MP, business activities and the peoples’ way of life are affected negatively whenever the ferry breaks down. He says there are other available ferries that can be relocated to the Dambai area to save residents from further frustration.
“They have alternatives including the Senchi Ferry which former President John Mahama said can be relocated to Dambai. There is another ferry at Kpando which is not in use that can be sent there…
“The Krachi areas are usually cut off from Accra when the dilapidated ferry is not working. This is bad and should be fixed as soon as possible,” he explained.
The MP is concerned that there could be accidents on the river if the ferry is not replaced soon.
“There have been accidents at Yeji and elsewhere on the river, and every year this problem keeps coming up.
“Because the ferry is bad, now people prefer to use the canoes on the river and that is very risky. They need to fix it before something happens. The people only want to travel safely and to pay for it.” Mr. Gyato said.