The Auditor General (AG) has indicated that the acreage of land designated for the Boankra Free Zones inland port project is gradually being lost to encroachers.
In its latest report, the Auditor General indicated: “We noted several encroachments on portions of the Boankra FZ enclave land owned by the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) during our visit to the area”.
Though the size of encroachment remains unclear, the recommendation given by the Auditor General in regard to retrieving the land indicates that a sizeable portion of acreage has already been taken. In its recommendation, the AG suggested that the GFZA secure the land by forcefully evicting the encroachers or negotiating to repossess them through legal means.
In November last year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for commencement of work on the US$330million Integrated Logistics Terminal project, which has been on the drawing board for some 18 years.
The Concessionaire, Ashanti Ports Services Limited – a joint venture of Afum Quality Limited of Ghana and DSS Associates of the Republic of Korea, according to President Akufo-Addo is committed to investing the US$330million for realisation of this project.
“Additionally, the concessionaire is expected to design, engineer, finance, procure, construct, operate and maintain the project, and transfer title to government after a 30-year period.”
The president explained that the Boankra Inland Port, which is expected to take three years to complete, has been initiated to provide service to importers and exporters in the middle and northern parts of the country.
It is also to act as a major conduit for the efficient transportation of transit traffic to and from neighbouring landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and is key to success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Work on the project is set to begin after the conclusion of all financial, contractual, legal, parliamentary and regulatory matters and approvals.
After the terminal’s completion, it will be fitted with an inland clearance depot; Customs bonded and unbonded estates; commercial areas such as banks, offices and trading facilities; vehicle parking areas; light industrial areas; and an administration complex. The project will also offer significant employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour during the two phases of construction and operation.
The encroachment threatens commitment to industrialisation
The current news of illegal encroachment could derail government’s agenda of firmly establishing the country’s economy on a solid path to industrialisation.