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Involve local contractors in implementation of Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway project – Veep

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, Aug.11, GNA – Government has urged the
ECOWAS Ministerial Steering Committee for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway
Development Programme to ensure the inclusion of local content in the choice of
contractors and consultants for the implementation of the project.

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, made the
call in a speech read on his behalf by Professor Gyan Baffuor, the Minister for
Planning, at the Eighth Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting for
Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Development Programme, in Accra, on Friday.

A total of 1,028 kilometres dual carriage
highways would be constructed to link the major commercial cities of five
ECOWAS countries including La Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria to
enhance trade facilitation and regional integration.

Vice President Bawumia said, Ghana had taken a
keen interest in ensuring the inclusion of her nationals in the development of
infrastructure, which would offer a wide range of job opportunities for local
businesses and the local labour force.

He observed that with the over 50 per cent of
the corridor within the territory of Ghana, the Steering Committee should
consider the issue of resettlement critically and provide clear modalities so
that the country was not overly burdened with the cost of resettling the
project affected persons.

“Therefore, resettlement issues should be
appropriately addressed by the corridor states with payment of adequate
compensation in accordance with national laws of the respective states,” he
noted.

In addition, he said a robust communication
strategy to market the project locally, regional and internationally to attract
promoters and investors should be adopted.

“Ghana is very much committed to the spirit
and letter of the treaty establishing the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, and I will
support the project by carrying out sensitisation, educational programmes, and
consultation along the corridor,” he emphasised.

Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance that
government would engage the communities, commuters and transporters along the
corridor, to explain the objectives and benefits of the projects, as well as
ensuing sustained interest and commitment of all stakeholders.

“While projecting the benefits of the project
we must be mindful of the environmental and social impacts the project may have
on the people in the catchment area.

“For this reason, alternative alignments for
the project have been provided prior to the feasibility studies to minimise
property impact and displacement.

“As much as infrastructure development is
important, we should not be seen as creating social problems or unduly
adversely impacting the lives of the people within the corridor of influence,”
he said.

The Vice President advocated for closer
collaboration among all the stakeholders along the corridor to ensure the
successful implementation of the project.

He expressed optimism that the level of
commitment and enthusiasm showed by the five corridor countries in the
preparation for the project concerning the ratification of the treaty and
agreements, would fast-track the implementation of the project.

“Ghana and ECOWAS appreciate the enormous
support from the development partners for recognising the outstanding need for
infrastructure development and their readiness to fund the project,” he said.

He said Ghana was prepared to accommodate the
Corridor Management Authority if given the nod and making feverish preparations
for provision of physical infrastructure in this regard.

The ECOWAS Heads of States in 2014
commissioned the Ministerial Steering Committee for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor
Management Authority to consider strategies and modalities for the
implementation of the project.

The consultant engaged by the Commission for
advisory services for early stage preparation for the project has almost
completed the assignment on institutional design for the Authority and the
Steering Committee would deliberate on it at the meeting.

The institutional design includes the
functions and structure of the Abidjan-Lagos Management Authority (ACOMA) and
comprehensive legal framework covering the intergovernmental agreement with the
creation of the Authority, the enabling legislation, the international project
agreement, and the rules of procedure to facilitate project implementation.

A final validation workshop was held in July
at the ECOWAS Commission in Nigeria, Abuja, by technical experts from the
Ministries of Infrastructure, Works, Finance, Transport and Justice of the five
corridor countries.

GNA

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