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General News of Sunday, 16 November 2014

Source: GNA

Atuabo free port project to start in 2015

Atuabo Free Port Ghana Limited, at the weekend announced that all is set for works to start on the free port project in the second quarter of 2015.

The project would provide port facilities solely to support the oil and gas industry.

The joint venture project between Ghanaian institutions and a foreign investor is estimated to cost 600 million dollars and is expected to create about 1,000 jobs.

Mr Steven Gray, Director of the project said at a media encounter that “Sole right is only for an oil and gas free port for the duration of 10 years”.

He said contrary to suspicion that Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority would be redundant in the oil/gas industry, Mr Gray said: “There are no restrictions on Takoradi to expand the port operations to cope with the growing commercial maritime traffic.”

He said government has the ability to develop additional facilities when the Atuabo free port does not expand to meet industry needs that are commercially viable.

On the local content policy, the Director said management respects the arrangement put in place therefore would offer jobs for Ghanaians to ensure efficiency.

Mrs Philomena Kuzoe, External Affairs Officer said management is working in consultation with relevant stakeholders to ensure that their operations does not impact negatively on the communities in which they would operate.

“We are putting in place mitigation measures to control any negative impact. Atuabo is not working in isolation,” she said.

Mr Lawrence Lamptey, Commercial Manager said the free port business was mooted in 2009 and after several consultations with stakeholders, Ghana signed a memorandum of understanding with the financiers, Lonhro in August 2011 for the execution of the project.

He said Ghanaian shareholders own 45 per cent, Lonrho, Ghana government has 35 per cent shares while and other institutional investors have 10, and 20 per cent shares.

The Atuabo project is located in the heart of the new oil enclave of the Western Region and would provide services in the industry to enhance economic growth of the region.