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Approve loan for Elmina fishing project - Finance Committee recommends

By: Ama Amankwah Baafi
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The Elmina fishing harbour will soon see a facelift
The Elmina fishing harbour will soon see a facelift

The Finance Committee of Parliament has recommended the adoption of its report and approval by resolution, a loan agreement between the government and the Cooperative Rabobank U.A. and Commerzbank Aktiengesellchaft, Brussels branch, for an amount of €96,696,000.00 for the Elmina Fishing Port Rehabilitating and Expansion project.

The amount is inclusive of CREDENDO ECA premium of €11,696,000.00.

The report, signed by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, stated the agreement was to secure funds to finance the Elmina fishing port rehabilitation and expansion project to improve the local fishing industry to meet international standards and to increase fish quantity to help meet demand.

Early on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the report was presented to the house by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea on behalf of the Minister of Finance and which was subsequently referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution and orders 169 and 171 (1) of the standing orders of Parliament.

The scope of the project

The project involves the upgrading of facilities in the existing fishing port (including administrative building, fish market and workshop), construction of a shed for fishing net mending, a toilet block, a day care centre.

Others are a new port recreational area development which will include a restoration area in front of the castle, landscaping and general improvements to aesthetic attributes of the area surrounding the waterfront.

The project is expected to provide all year-round employment opportunity to fisherfolks who ply their trade at the port, increase the average per capita household incomes in the project catchment area and reduce rural-urban drift.

Project benefits
The committee observed that the successful implementation of the project will help minimise maintenance dredging of sedimentation, alleviate congestion of the current fleet, expand the port entrance to welcome larger vessels and canoes and generally provide new modern facilities of international standards for port operations.

“The project is expected to provide all year-round employment opportunity to the fisherfolks who ply their trade at the port, increase the average per capita household incomes in the project catchment area and reduce rural-urban drift,” it stated.

CDB funding
The Elmina Project has been removed from the China Development Bank (CDB) facility by the government upon realisation that the US$21 million would be inadequate to undertake the intended rehabilitation and expansion works to bring the port to desired standard, given its character as the biggest and busiest fishing landing site in Ghana. 

Parliament in 2018 approved the Third Subsidiary Agreement between Ghana and the CDB for an amount of US$185,570,000 in relation to the Coastal Fishing Landing Sites Project under the tranche B facility.

To avoid double-counting and upon negotiating, the government has decided to shift the US$21 million CDB funds to construct two fishing landing sites at Ekumfi in the Central Region and Osu in the Greater Accra Region.

Background
Elmina is located in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem (KEEA) District of the Central Region. Aside tourism, with the popular one being the Elmina Castle, the main economic activity is fishing.

The project, under the instant loan being considered by the House, will be a continuation of the facelift project of the Elmina short- and medium-term plan and in line with the ongoing programme to rehabilitate and construct fishing ports and landing sites along the coast of Ghana.

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