As part of government’s programme to improve on the transportation system in the country, a stakeholders workshop on the feasibility study for the development of the Volta Lake Inland Transport System has been held in Koforidua.
The workshop presented an opportunity for Individuals, Groups, Associations, Fisher folks, Municipal/Districts Assemblies and other stakeholders to make inputs and suggestions into the project.
In his welcome address, the Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Seth Kwame Acheampong expressed the fact that water transport continues to play a major role in most communities within Kwahu South Municipality, Kwahu Afram Plains North, Kwahu Afram Plains South, Upper Manya Krobo and Asuogyaman, located along the banks of the Afram River and the Volta Lake.
These communities continue to be the major contributor to the food and fish baskets of the region and Ghana as a whole, and the readily available avenue for moving these farm produce is through water transiport, he added.
He was very optimistic that the workshop would come out with suggestions that would help address the transportation challenges such as fluctuating water levels, uncharted navigation routes, presence of tree stamps leading to frequent boat accidents on the Afram River and Volta Lake putting an end to the loss of productive lives.
The Director, Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME), Mrs. Irene Messiba speaking on behalf of the minister of Transport indicated that inland water transport had been identified as a key component of an integrated, multimodal transportation network offering potential to provide cost-effective transportation for socio-economic development of the many communities around the lake as well as provide strategic, cost-effective long-distance routing of bulk wet and dry cargoes in Ghana.
Touching on the current state of the water transport system in the country, Mrs. Messiba said Volta Lake existing vessels were in poor condition, landing stages were in poor condition or non-existent in areas where informal boat operations abound, port operations were poorly equipped to handle existing shipments and several unregulated boats provide informal service for passengers and goods around the lake with a consistently poor record of safety and increasing death toll of passengers.
She was hopeful that the final report and implementation of the project would expand and improve the inland water transport infrastructure and its inefficient transport services thereby reducing the transportation costs and travel time for domestic and international transit.
The Team Leader of the Consultant -Messrs Vision Consult, Prof. Kwasi Adarkwa said the project would look at infrastructure, equipment, software and human resource development investment requirements and determine both the economic and financial viability of the proposed investment plans.
He said, the report and subsequent implementation of the project would improve the socioeconomic activities of the country through tourism, revenue mobilisation, job creation and safety.