- Road Network Never Seen Rehabilitation since 1960
- Successive Gov’ts Make Vain Promises About it
Report By: Paul Harrison Mensah, Tema
Tema is popularly known as the harbour city and industrial hub of Ghana where about 80 percent of our industries are located.
Industrial activity, apart from Cocoa, Tourism and Services Sector, is the fourth largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the economy.
However, a decrepit road network and a growing slum in Tema industrial area have set industrialists and entrepreneurs in Ghana’s purposely built industrial city of Tema fuming over the relevance of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and its partner Tema Development Corporation (TDC), two organizations mandated by law to take charge of the city.
The industrialists say they are “sick and tired” of the deterioration of roads linking many companies in Tema industrial area, most especially the main Tema Steel Works road, even as they are milked dry with about 15 different types of taxes, levies and other fees.
The Captains of industry in separate interviews with the BUSINESS JOURNAL poured out their frustration over the poor road network linking almost all the companies in the industrial area, with some of them threatening not to pay taxes and levies until authorities begin to do their work.
According to them, Tema Steel Works road apart from its economic importance serves as an alternative route linking Tema and Aflao to Togo, Benin and Nigeria.
It also connects commuters who want to avoid heavy traffic on Tema – Ashaiman road enroute to Mitchel Camp, Akosombo, Ho, Hohoe, etc. In essence, it serves over 5,000 movable engines a day.
What baffles them is that since the days of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1960 when the industrial area roads were constructed successive governments have never given a facelift to it.
Mr. Charles Mensah, CEO of Myroc Group of Companies disclosed that in the 1960’s Tema industrial area has good roads to facilitate easy movement of vehicular traffic, people, goods and services. In 2017, the situation in Tema industrial area is completely different story: the roads are in bad shape, the tarred once on Aluworks road is riddled with potholes of varying deepness and spread, whiles the sewage system is completely mulfunctional. The entire road network and the sewage system for industrial waste are both over 60 years old and are in urgent need for reconstruction and overhauling, he added.
A senior citizen who want to remain anonymous hinted that in 1998, Ex-President John Jerry Rawlings came to Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and talked about rehabilitation of Tema industrial Area roads but could not do anything about it before he left office in 2001.
In 2005, when former President John Agyekum Kuffour came to Valco in his attempt to revamp the company he also made similar promises without any action.
In 2009, the late President John Evans Fiifi Attah Mills came to the longroom at Tema Port and announced a Turkish government’s grant of US$300 million to reconstruct Tema industrial area roads but could not materialize six month to end his tenure in office and he sadly passed on.
The immediate past president, John Dramani Mahama also came to Aluworks even when he was the vice president and echoed the promises of his boss to give Tema industrial area road network a facelift befitting the status as the industrial hub of Ghana but to no avail.
Those who sign fat cheques to the national coffers say they are looking up to President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo to tackle Tema industrial area roads immediately since it falls under his One-district-One-factory policy, an industrial revolution agenda.
Tema district does not need any fresh factory. We already have enough factories to support this policy. All that we need is to help distressed companies to revive, make all roads in industrial area motorable, and reduce taxes for us to expand so that we can employ more people”, they emphasized.
Mr. James Asare Adjei, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, (AGI) and Chief Executive officer (CEO) of Asadtek Roofing sheet Company, says the roads and sewage system in Tema are not impacting positively on industrial growth in Ghana.
“The situation is absolutely unacceptable; why are entrepreneurs treated this way? Why can’t we talk? He asked.
“We have said over and again, that even if the government cannot reconstruct the roads, the roads need to be rehabilitated such that they are motorable in the short to medium term”, Mr Asare Adjei said.
“We have completely disappointed our forefathers, particularly Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who had the vision to put Tema in place as an industrial hub. The least we could have done was to maintain what our forefathers put in place, and for that matter we should have continuously maintained the roads and sewage system. You don’t expect a sewage line and roads which are over 50 years to continue to function well, he added.
Mr. Oteng Gyasi, former AGI president and Managing Director of Tropical Cable and conductor was enraged with this comment, “People are happy just sitting there and taking money without doing what they are suppose to do. My factory is full of dust inflicting cardiovascular diseases on my workers due to excessive dust emanating from this road”.