Parliament has approved a GH₵65million tax waiver for the Takoradi Port rehabilitation and expansion project.
When completed, the facility will increase the port’s capacity and enable it to adequately handle the country’s trade growth, a Parliamentary report has revealed.
The Finance Committee of Parliament recommended the waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT/GETFund Levy, Import NHIL, EXIM Lexy, Special Import Levy and other local taxes amounting to the Ghanaian cedi equivalent of GH₵65,248,397 (GH₵65m) on materials and equipment to be procured for the development of an Integrated Container and Multi-Purpose Terminal at the Takoradi Port by IBISTEK Limited, under a Concession Agreement between the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and IBISTEK Limited.
Under the agreement, IBISTEK Limited is expected to design, redesign, engineer, finance, construct, equip, operate, manage, maintain and repair the Container and Multipurpose Terminal (C&MPT) at the Port of Takoradi for the handling, storage and delivery of containers; RoRo cargo, general project cargo; and oil and gas exploration cargo (including pipes and steel); and agri-bulk cargo such as cocoa, cereals and grains.
The Concessioner is also expected to rehabilitate and reconstruct the port’s access roads.
Among the socio-economic benefits expected when the project is completed are: an increase in the Takoradi Port’s throughput capacity to adequately handle the country’s trade growth; creation of about 2,000 jobs that will contribute to pension funds, national health insurance scheme; connect Ghana to the global market; and facilitating trade that will enable Ghanaians to cost-effectively compete for businesses.
It will also help to strengthen the strategic position of the port in the sub-region, as larger vessels will be able to dock at the port; provide new infrastructure and modern equipment and advanced technology to serve larger and deeper vessels; and help develop the port competitiveness and attractiveness to secure its leading position in West Africa.
The scope of work at the port under the Concessional Agreement includes: access channel dredged to 16metres; extension of breakwater; construction of bulk terminals with 16metres depth; construction of oil service terminal; reclamation of 53 hectares of land; construction of open storage area for oil field, plant and machinery; and construction of dual access roads to the port.
Western Region Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, lauded the project and maintained: “It will increase employment by over 2,000 when it commences, and about double that when it is completed”.
He also added that the idea is to make the Takoradi Port, “the port of choice not only in Ghana but sub-Saharan Africa”.
The Takoradi Port dates back to April 3,1928 when it was officially commissioned and opened for operations. Since then, the port has not seen any dramatic expansion or any major rehabilitation work, even though the economy and maritime trade (exports and imports) has seen substantial growth and increase in ship sizes.
The existing infrastructure is unable to support the increased volume in trade at the port. There is therefore need for the port to be modernised and expanded at this point in time, in order to prevent the inevitable future congestion from increased activities.