The group believes that contrary to claims by critics that the project pose a risk to workers at the existing Takoradi port, the Freeport would rather open up the country’s port system for more jobs.
Parliament last year approved the 600 million dollar commercial agreement for the freeport project which is a public private partnership aimed at creating a dedicated oil and gas port along the coast of Ghana to serve the emerging oil and gas industry in the sub-region.
However, five minority MPs filed a suit at the Sekondi High Court challenging the agreement. The Court dismissed the case, and a subsequent appeal at the Cape Coast Court of Appeal was also dismissed.
The MPs in a statement after the dismissal, accused government of manipulating the legal process, and maintained that the project posed a risk to the nation.
GOGSPA, in a statement issued in reaction to the claims by five MPs, described the criticism as misplaced.
The statement, signed by Dr. Nuertey Adzeman, Executive Director of the association,stated “the argument by the parliamentarians to defend Takoradi Ports and protect jobs of many Ghanaians working there cannot be justified.”
The association is convinced that with the Atuabo Freeport, the local content could be given a major impetus with an increase in Ghanaian participation in the percentage of locally produced materials, the number of local personnel, and the amount of goods and services rendered in the petroleum industry value chain.
“Indeed, the Atuabo Freeport project is complementary to that of Takoradi and will not displace any workers as being claimed. Quite on the contrary, the new port will rather create more new job opportunities for Ghanaians,” it said
It drew attention to the fact that Ghana’s second FPSO for the TEN project, was being built in Singapore with very limited Ghanaian participation.
“Given the oil discovery of our West Coast, Ghana is expected to have at least six FPSOs in operation offshore Ghana. Fabrication work holds immense potential for service providers and the existence of a fabrication yard at the Atuabo Freeport will serve us well.
“As service providers, the new port will provide us with the opportunity to develop our capacity to service the industry not only in Ghana but in the wider regional market,” it said.
Regarding security, it said the 1974 SOLAS Convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which took effect on July 1,2004; International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code would be applied at the Port, indicating that the argument by the critics of the project that this new port will pose a security risk to Ghana was flawed because there would be a dedicated facility located at the port to oversee security.
“The local content and participation provisions within our Petroleum Laws seek to promote the maximisation of value addition through the use of local expertise, goods, services and materials in petroleum activities and the retention in country of as much activity as possible.
“Unfortunately, the manufacturing and industrial base of Ghana is at this point in time not sufficiently mature to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the industry. As such, most goods utilised in the petroleum values chain are imported.
“We believe the Atuabo free port project would maximise in-country spending, build local capacity and help ensure technology transfer.
According to the association, “any action to hold back its development can only be detrimental to the many service providers the industry requires.”
By Times Reporter