A Section Of The Western Regional Chiefs at the press conference yesterday.

Chiefs in the Western Region have thrown their weight behind the $3 billion loan being sourced from China to support the development of infrastructure in the country. The President of the Regional House of Chiefs, Awulae Attribrukusu III, declared their support at a press briefing in Accra yesterday.Per the agreement of the loan facility, the Western Region is billed to benefit US$1.8 billion from the China Development Bank (CDB) to finance various infrastructure development projects under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA).

Notable projects proposed under Tranche A1 for the Western Region include;
a) The Western Corridor Infrastructure Renewal Project, which consists of modernisation of railway components from Takoradi-Kumasi and Dunkwa-Awaso.

The said projects are estimated to cost US$500 million, and fall in line with Phase 1 of the European Union (EU) funded feasibility study conducted by Bonifica.

B) Western Corridor Infrastructure Renewal Project, which includes the rehabilitating of Phase 1 of the Takoradi Port for an estimated amount of US$150 million.

C) Sekondi Free Zone Project, which consists of developing onsite infrastructure and utility services for the proposed industrial minerals processing estate, as well as an Alumina Refinery.

The project is said to be implemented by a Free Zone developer to be licensed by the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), under a build-operator-transfer contract for an amount of US$100 million.

Proposed projects under Tranche B1, said to benefit the Western Region include;

a) Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Project, consisting of Offshore Gathering Pipeline, Early Phase Gas Processing Plant, Onshore Trunk Pipeline, including gas dispatch facility, retrofit of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) to enable processing of natural gas liquids (NGLs), as well as deployment of helicopter fleet for enhanced surveillance of facilities.

This project is to be developed by the newly-created Ghana National Gas Company Limited at an estimated amount of US$850 million.

b) Phase 1 of the Takoradi Petroleum Terminal Project to be sited at Pumpuni at an estimated amount of US$200 million. The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited is billed to develop this project.

c) Western Corridor Oil Enclave Toll Road Redevelopment Project, billed to be developed by the Ghana Highways Authority at a contract sum of US$150 million.

The aforementioned projects, according to Awulae Attibruku III, who doubles as the Vice President of the National House of Chiefs, influenced their decision to support the government’s move to source the loan facility from the CDB, since “it will go a long way to transform the fortunes of the region, which has lagged behind in terms of projects all these years.”

To them, since the loan facility is meant to put the country in economic limelight in the West African sub-region, deliberations on the agreement by Members of Parliament (MP) from the various political divides should be done in a non-partisan manner.

“The Western Region and the country cannot wait for the above-mentioned projects in the agreement to commence. We are convinced that this loan agreement is in the best interest of the country, and we therefore, call for a non-partisan and patriotism approach in the consideration of the loan agreement in Parliament,” noted Awulae Attibruku III.

They, therefore, urged their representative MPs to work towards the quick passage of the Chinese loan agreement, after careful consideration had been given to it.

The Western Chiefs recently caused a stir in the country, when they demanded 10% of the oil revenue to enable them embark on various infrastructure projects in the region.

Upon a series of engagements with the government, the chiefs rescinded their decision and accepted the government’s proposal that the region stands to benefit more than what they were demanding.

According to them, “The initiation of the above projects will pump far more than the 10% oil revenue that we demanded,” and expressed gratitude to the government for honouring its pledge.

But, surprisingly, the chiefs told journalists that though they had not had the opportunity to study the full details of the loan agreement various discussions on the various media influenced their decision to come out to support the government in accessing the loan facility.

They debunked suggestions that their support was stage-managed to make the government look better in the eyes of the public.

“Nobody is pushing Nananom to do anything. When we started to demand for 10% of the oil revenue, people said it was the opposition that was manipulating us. Now the government is sourcing for US$3 billion loan facility, and it will be unfortunate for another group of persons to say the government is pushing Nananom to organise such a press conference,” said the Chief of Essikado-Sekondi, Nana Kobina Nketia.

He added: “If for once, we can look at something with the patriotism it deserves, then, I think that we, as chiefs, have made the kind of contribution that Nkrumah and Paa Grant made at a point in history.”

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