President Akufo-Addo began his tour of the Greater Accra Region yesterday with a visit to the industrial city of Tema as his first port of call.
He and his entourage went to the Tema Habour where he inspected the ongoing port expansion project estimated to cost over $1.5 billion, being undertaken by Meridian Port Services (MPS).
With him were the Ministers of Transport and Trade, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah and Alan Kyerematen respectively together with the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey and the Metropolitan Chief Executive for Tema, Nii Anang La as well as some Members of Parliament (MPs) in the area.
From there, he visited the much-talked-about ‘long room’ at the harbour where revenue transactions take place, to observe the newly introduced paperless operation.
During his interaction with workers at the place, especially officers and men of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government’s vision of building a progressive and prosperous Ghana largely depends on their efforts.
“The work my government is doing depends so much on you. If you are able to meet our revenue targets, it will then mean that we will be able to finance the expenditures we would need in our social sectors, for our education, for our housing, for our health, amongst others. We would then be able to invest in those parts of the economy that we would need to invest in to grow our economy, industry, trade and agriculture,” he entreated.
It is for this reason that the president encouraged the GRA officials to bear in mind that “the time has come for us not to ‘chop’ Ghana small, but to make Ghana great,” saying, “If that is where all of us are, we are going to build a Ghana that is going to be the wonder of this world; the world will then see that there are Africans capable of doing it.”
President Akufo-Addo urged the GRA to be “sincere, active collaborators and co-operate to build the Ghana of our dreams.”
He said, “My part is to try to help define and design the policy; but you are the people responsible for executing it. If the execution is solid, Ghana is solid.”
He stressed the need for Ghana becoming a “country of dignity and pride that is able to finance its own development” and therefore reminded the GRA, “If we are going to be able to do that, you are at the cutting edge. If you succeed, Ghana succeeds; if you fail, we will fail.”
President Akufo-Addo was of the firm conviction that “It is not by accident that we were the first of the black nations on the continent to become free from European colonialism. It is because generations of Ghanaians had fought and worked and mobilised to bring us to where we are today. We have a very proud past. But what will make that proud past count is if we have a prosperous and rich future.”
Earlier, he stressed at the site of the port expansion project that the work being done there would improve Ghana’s trade competiveness, facilitate trade growth and improve revenue mobilisation.
The project is expected to allow the Tema harbour accommodate some of the world’s largest container ships and improve cargo handling services and capacity.
Describing the project as an exciting development in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo told management of MPS, “We just have to wish that everything goes well, so you can meet the contractual deadlines.
“It is extremely important for the development of Ghana that such a development should take place. As you know, we are committed to a very rapid development of our country, especially its industrial and agricultural sectors.
“This (Tema Port) is one of them, which will ensure that we will have in our country a 1st class port, modern and capable of receiving the biggest vessels in the world, and allowing us to accelerate the pace of our development and of our exchanges.”
President Akufo-Addo therefore assured the contractors of government’s commitment to assist them to bring the project to a successful completion.
“It is a massive undertaking. Some of our neighbours are also undertaking important port developments in Cote d’Ivoire and in Lome, Togo. I have seen the Lome facility myself, but I am sure they will not be superior to what we will have in Ghana,” confident-looking President Akufo-Addo added.
He later visited the Tema Free Zones enclave and interacted with stakeholders; and from there to Kpone where a durbar was held in his honour by the chiefs and people of the area.
President Akufo-Addo was expected to visit Adjen Kotoku, near Amasaman, where he would inspect a plant that converts waste into fertiliser.
He would then go to Abossey Okai – the hub of vehicle spare parts – and later proceed to inspect the Lavender Hill Faecal Water Treatment Plant at Jamestown before attending a durbar of the chiefs and people of Ga Mashie and Osu at Manste Agbonaa.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent