Business News of Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Source: Economy Times

Confusion over $200m fishing ports

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has debunked Dutch firm DHV’s claim to have won a US$200 million contract to construct 11 fishing harbours along the country’s 539km coastline.

The GPHA however confirmed that DHV is a consultant for the development of small fishing ports and landing sites, to be financed from a US$3 billion China Development Bank (CDB) loan.

Between2007 and 2009, GPHA contracted DHV to conduct the design studies, as well as design details for fish landing sites in the country.

The Dutch company produced the master plan and designs for 11 mini ports and landing sites to be located at Axim, Dixcove, Elmina, Gomoa Fetteh, James Town, Keta, Mumford, Senya Bereku and Teshie

Presently, the GPHA asserts that its contract with DHV is to supervise construction works on the project, but not to do actual construction, while insisting that the actual construction contract is yet to be awarded.

Industry observers say it is most likely for the Chinese, who are providing the financing for the project to prefer a Chinese company to undertake the construction of the ports.

Ghana’s efforts to build infrastructure to revamp its fishing industry, which in recent times has been on the decline – dropping by a whopping 3.7 percent in 2011 – has been rather difficult.

Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, in 2009 signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian firm, TREVI, to conduct feasibility study on the construction of 14 fishing ports and landing sites in the country.

Ghana was to pay for the cost of the feasibility and TREVI was to be awarded a contract for the construction of the ports, but that project fizzled out.

During the previous administration, President Kufuor cut the sod for the construction of a modern fishing harbour and landing site for the fishing community of the James Town suburb of Accra.

It was to be the first of 20 projects to be undertaken along the coast comprising two fishing harbours, twelve fishing landing sites, six cold stores and refrigeration facilities spread from Greater Accra to Central region, Western and the Volta regions.

The estimated cost of the James Town harbour was US$16 million with funding coming from Europe while the landing sites from the Western to Eastern points of the country were estimated at US$148 million with the Ministry of Fisheries committing to fund them, but the project did not materialize.