Former President John Dramani Mahama has assured the chiefs and people of Atuabo in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region that he will “resurrect” the Atuabo free port project in 2020 when he wins the presidential election.
He maintained that the Atuabo free port project and other oil and gas services projects, which his government planned for Western and Eastern Nzema, were to enable the country derive maximum benefits from the oil find.
“We planned building an oil services port here at Atuabo. Unfortunately, there was a bit of misunderstanding. Our brothers from the other political divide took the project to court, stalled it till we left office.”
The Atuabo free port project would have been Ghana’s third port.
The $700 million project to have been constructed by the Lonhro Port Limited was expected to be operational in 2017 and serve as a regional hub in promoting safe and efficient offshore businesses.
However, five Members of Parliament took the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to court over exclusivity clauses and attempts to stop the Takoradi Port from expanding.
But speaking at the Palace of the Paramount Chief of Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, Awulea Amihere Kpanyinli III, on his two-day Thank You tour of the Western Region, former president Mahama insisted the project was in the best interest of the country.
He stated the Atuabo Free Port project would have meant Ghana had world class facilities to support the oil and gas industry.
“The Atuabo free port project is very critical as it will help the oil and gas industry. So when NDC comes back, we will resurrect and build it so that the oil industry can have a place to receive their services. It will also create employment for our young ones in the Nzema area.”
He also mentioned that attention will be given to the plan to have a petrochemical industry in Western Nzema to give impetus to the Atuabo free port.
“In our plan [are] the gas processing plant, the port and others are in Eastern Nzema. For Western Nzema, we have a petrochemical plant. The designs are still there and so the plan will be resurrected in its entirety.”
He noted that “we also thought it wise to have all these projects to be on a par with the infrastructure in the Nzema area and so we initiated the gas enclave project. So now all the roads where the gas plant and ancillary companies are have been tarred”.
Chief of Akropong in the Ellembelle District Nana Adu Kwame said the chiefs and people of Nzema will forever be indebted to the John Mahama administration for putting the Ghana Gas infrastructure on their land.
“It was during your time as the president that we had the Ghana Gas project. There are other oil and gas service companies as well. We are very grateful. Now our roads can be compared to that of major cities”.
According to him, a one-touch victory for the NDC in the 2020 general elections is assured if only “you do not walk where you walked for you to record your defeat in 2016”.
“I will urge you to be patient, remain united and shun any profligate tendencies.”