The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has assured residents in the Keta area that it will not side-step the country’s local content policy in the implementation of the Keta Port project.
Mr Sam Dzackah, the Project Coordinator, of Coastal Ports Development at GPHA, said the Authority would apply similar arrangements as that of the local content law in the oil and gas sector to engage indigenes for the project, adding that: “Keta is a place of experts.”
The Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations, 2013 stipulate prioritizing indigenes in terms of employment in the petroleum industry and ensuring they benefit from the country’s natural resources.
Mr Dzackah gave the assurance at a public engagement on the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
It was organized by the GPHA in partnership with Coastal and Reclamation Engineering Services (CARES) Ghana Limited, consultants for the ESIA of the project, as part of processes leading to the construction of the Keta Port.
The separate engagements held at Dzelukope Kedzi and Havedzi on Friday, aimed to have the people raise concerns about potential adverse social and environmental impacts of the proposed port for suitable mitigation measures.
People in and around Keta, Adzido, Vodza, Kedzi Agorta, Havedzi, Horvi, Blekusu, and Anlo-Afiadenyigba attended the forum.
Other concerns raised included compensation for families to be relocated to give way for the project, safeguarding livelihoods of the fishing-dependent communities, cultural heritage, and tourism preservation.
Mr Dzackah said the Keta area (Anlo) was noted for producing some of Ghana’s best human resources, hence the project would make lots of opportunities available to benefit the people.
“Put yourselves in readiness for the project. The Keta Port, which will have a port city and industrial enclave, will incorporate the tourism aspect,” he said.
“There will be a proposal for measures of safeguarding the communities in terms of alternative livelihood including opportunities for people to own businesses. For local content, indigenes will be recruited for manual labor, semi-skilled and at expert levels.”
Mr Mathew Baker, the Technical Manager, CARES Ghana Ltd, said the stakeholder engagement was critical as it aimed to assess the project’s positive and negative impacts on the communities.
The GPHA says the project is a commercial harbor and would constitute a container terminal, fishing harbor, tourism hub, and other relevant facilities.
The Social and Environmental Impact Assessment, which was the second phase after the feasibility study was completed would span six months after which the construction stage would commence.