PRESS STATEMENT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROPOSED SEKONDI INDUSTRIAL ESTATE AND THE CHINA DEVELOPMENT BANK LOAN CONTRACTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA
The Ministry of Trade and Industry's attention has been drawn to an online publication by Imani, an organization that represents itself as a think tank, suggesting that the proposed development of the Sekondi Industrial Estate, has the potential to jeopardize the Government of Ghana's ability to access the China Development Bank loan. We would like to assure the general public that there is no truth in the publication.
The development of the Sekondi Industrial Estate as a second Export Processing Zone has been an objective of the Government of Ghana for a number of years now. The proposed site was declared a Free Zone area over twelve years ago, however it has not been developed for various reasons, but mainly due to the Government's inability to finance the acquisition of the land and the development of the project. Given the industrial potential of the Western Region and the easy access to port facilities for the export of products from Ghana, the current administration decided to focus on the development of the Sekondi Industrial Estate as a priority project.
The Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), have had several challenges with regard to the development of adequate infrastructure relating to the development of the Tema Export Processing Zone. Although different companies were given licenses to develop the enclave as at today the infrastructure is still inadequate. This experience informed the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the GFZBâs decision that prior to entering into any leasehold arrangements for the Sekondi Industrial Estates with a developer, the Ministry of Trade & Industry acting through its agency - the GFZB, would develop the basic infrastructure for the estate such as the drainage systems, road network, external walls, and provision of utilities. The funds made available for the Sekondi Industrial Estate under the CDB loan will be used for this purpose.
China Hasan International Holding has not been awarded any contract for the construction of the proposed development in Ghana. The company's subsidiary in Ghana, namely Hasan Investment Ghana Ltd., has been granted a Developer's license to develop the Sekondi Industrial Estate. Under the provisions of the Free Zones Act (Act 504), the Ghana Free Zones Board has the authority to award a Developer's license for the development of a Free Zones enclave. The act envisages that a private developer can lease or sub-lease property it owns or has the right to use within a Free Zones Enclave, and imposes on the developer the responsibility to construct and maintain buildings, warehouses and factory shells within a Free Zones enclave, and develop the necessary infrastructure for the efficient functioning of the zone. The developer also has the responsibility to undertake any investment or financial venture to promote the development of the Zone.
Hasan Investment Ghana Ltd. proposed a concept for the development of the Sekondi Industrial Estate for the Ghana Free Zones Board. The Board reviewed the concept and found it to be satisfactory and on that basis issued the company with a Developer's license. The issuing of the Developer's license has given Hasan Investment Ghana Ltd. the right to hold itself out as the Developer of the estate and promote it as a business location to prospective tenants of the estate, with a view to ensuring that the estate is populated and made a vibrant industrial processing zone within the shortest possible time. The Bosai Minerals Group, which will be responsible for the development of the integrated Aluminium project, will be an anchor tenant of the Sekondi Industrial Estate, once the project is completed.
The GFZB has not as yet entered into any agreement with Hasan Investments Ghana Ltd. to lease all or part of the proposed Sekondi Industrial Estate to the company, for it to develop the area on its behalf, because it has not yet completed the processes for the acquisition of the land or developed the basic infrastructure as it intends to do. In the circumstances it would be legally impossible to enter into an agreement to lease all or part of the land to Hasan Investments Ghana Ltd.
Neither the Ministry of Trade nor the GFZB have awarded a contract to Hasan Investments Ghana Ltd. or to China Hasan International Holding Company to construct the Sekondi Industrial Estate on its behalf. We wish to point out that indeed the issuing of a Developer's license to Hasan Investments Ghana Ltd. anticipates that the company will also make investments into the development of the Estate itself. The preparation of the concept paper for the Sekondi Industrial Estate and the preparation of the feasibility studies for the estate have been undertaken by the Developer at no cost to the GFZB.
Representatives of the GFZB met representatives of China Hasan International Holding Company during the state visit of His Excellency the President to China in 2010, and were informed by Ghana Embassy in Beijing that they were a reputable company. The Ministry of Trade and the GFZB are aware that their offices are located in Beijing. Neither the Ministry of Trade nor the Ghana Free Zones Board can take responsibility for the contents of a private company's website, or the accuracy of any translation from the Chinese language to English.
Any contracts to be awarded in respect of the construction of the Sekondi Industrial Estate will comply with the terms of the loan and the Procurement Act. The development of basic infrastructure by the GFZB on the land with funds from the CDB loan will enable the GFZB lease the land out with the basic infrastructure already available to the Developer, which will ensure the further development of an Industrial Estate with adequate road, drainage, sewerage, walls and utility infrastructure in place. This should help to attract prospective tenants into the Estate quickly. This should also promote business development, industrialization and job creation within the proposed development and in Sekondi. We consider it worth mentioning at this point that the development of adequate infrastructure within the Tema Export Processing Zone, especially the construction of a storm drain, and adequate drainage systems to prevent flooding are matters that the Ministry of Trade and the GFZB are still grappling with today, even though it has been over a decade since the Tema free zone enclave was established. We were of the view that in planning the development of what will be only the second enclave in the country, we should learn from our past experience to improve upon our future prospects of promoting industrialization in our country. The development of the Sekondi Industrial Estate shall, therefore, not jeopardize the Government's ability to access the CDB loan. We are committed to ensuring that it will be a successful development and help to make Ghana a better place.
NANA AKRASI SARPONG
COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Tel: 0244743 433