The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has cast doubt on the timelines for the completion of the Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal project as he reveals the concessionaire could not provide funding for the project.
The project also known as the Boankra Inland Port is a $330m joint venture between the government and the concessionaire, Ashanti Port Services, and it is expected to serve importers and exporters in the middle and northern parts of the country when completed in 2024.
Although work has been progressing steadily, the Asante monarch has however warned that the project may suffer setbacks so long as the government relies on its already distressed coffers to finance it.
“The Concessionaires on the Boankra Inland Port could not raise funds for the project, it is being financed by the government now”, Otumfuo said during a Regional House of Chiefs meeting on Wednesday (December 14) in Kumasi, adding: “We may end up not getting the actual size of the port as envisioned in the initial design”.
“We expect the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to secure a loan to bring this project to fruition…We can also fund the project without recourse to the Sovereign Fund; the newly created Development Bank, the Infrastructure Fund and the GPHA can team up by quantifying the number of cargo volumes expected at the port for the first 20 years upon completion, the revenue it will be generated, and leverage it with investors for funding instead of relying solely on the meagre revenues generated in the country”, he remarked.
Minority questions $33M payment to concessionaire
This latest development comes as the Minority in Parliament questions the payment of $33.3 million by the government to the concessionaire in the Boankra Inland Port project.
It had said the documentation available to them does not justify the payment of the money to a private entity.
The Ranking Member on the Transport Committee and Member of Parliament for the Adaklu Constituency, Kwame Agbodza, speaking on the matter, also demanded clarity on the procedure and circumstances under which the alleged amount was paid.
In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, Agbodza expressed concern about a possible breach of the country’s procurement laws in the payment of the amount.
“For state-owned enterprises to invest, there are laws governing them, sometimes by the laws that establish them and then the Public Procurement Act and other regulations. What I am not sure about is at what point did Ghana Port and Harbour Authority become a shareholder. Did anybody offer them shares, or did they voluntarily say they were going to buy shares to warrant the payment?”
He also alleged that the Government was untruthful when it came to Parliament with the bill for the Project because the documentation available to them indicated that Ashanti Port Services was the only shareholder in the Project.
“The $33.3 million that was paid, on what condition was it paid, Government cannot just take $33.3 million and give it to a private company that is building a port because as of the time they came to Parliament, we did not know any entity as shareholders. The 100 per cent shares belonged to Ashanti Port Services.”
“And if you pay $33.3 million, does it mean Government is buying a percentage share and if yes, where is the documentation showing that we owned a certain percentage upon which we are putting in $33.3 million,” he averred?