Business News of 2014-08-30

Unauthorized structures delay air services

Air service to the Upper West Region has huge potential of enhancing business activities between the region and others, especially Accra, and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali to help enhance the livelihood of the people.

However unauthorized structures put up by some private developers on the Wa Airstrip land is causing delay in the operation of air service to the region, compelling people in the region to depend on road transport.

Dependence on road transport has often resulted in delays and increases cost in business transactions, thereby affecting large scale investment in business ventures and limiting the expansion of business entities in the region.

These setbacks among other challenges has prompted government to the vision of providing air service to the region to help facilitate the movement of goods, services and people to promote intra and inter-trade activities in the region.

But before government’s vision would become to a reality about 300 unauthorized structures, many of them houses built by illegal encroachers on the airstrip land, would have to be demolished.

But the encroachers have come together and gone to court seeking an injection on the quit order by the Wa Municipal Assembly to enable it to demolish the structures.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Dzifa Peace Aku Ativor, the Minister of Transport and officials from the Ghana Civil Aviation and Ghana Airport Company Limited paid a working visit to Wa to have a general view of the airstrip and also inspect structures earmarked for demolition.

Mrs Ativor and her team held consultation with the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, the Wa Municipal Assembly, the Lands Commission and the Survey Department which provided an update of measures put in place to ensure the peaceful implementation of the airport project.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, blamed the Wa Municipal Assembly for allowing the encroachment on the airstrip land by private developers.

“The local government system is not working. The assembly is not working, it should determine which structures should be put up and at what places in the municipality.

“Many of the structures have no legal permits but the assembly failed to put surveillance to ensure that new buildings were not allowed on the land”, he said.

Alhaji Sulemana said the Land Commission was part of the problem to the encroachment on government lands and indiscipline in the system was collective.

He gave the assurance that regional coordinating council and municipal assembly as well as the community members would find amicable solution to the problem and ensure that the land was put to good use to benefit the people in region.

Mrs Ativor appealed to the people to understand that it was because of the safety and security reasons that they had to relocate elsewhere to allow air service in the region.

She appealed to stakeholders in the issue to work together to ensure a quick implementation of the project.

Officials of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority said it was risky operating air service on the airstrip, because the safety and security of aircrafts and passengers are at stake as animals are always crossing the main runway.

They said the airstrip should have a clear zone of 1000 by 1000 metres of structures and 220 metres of its Terminal Building from the runway.

Mr. Hunu Putiaha, Wa Municipal Chief Executive, said the issue about the airstrip had become a community issue and the community should facilitate the processes for amicable settlement.

He said for fear of contempt of court, the municipal assembly had to delay the demolition exercise.

However, the Land Commission said most of the documents in the procession of the encroachers were not registered documents and not coming from its office

The Land Commission said the airstrip land was acquired in 1956 and some compensation had been paid to residents at that time.

However when the airstrip was expanded in the 1990s no compensation had been paid for the land.

Source: GNA
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