The Minister for Transport, Mr Mike Hammah has urged the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) and other stakeholders in the maritime sector to be proactive towards the achievement of the gateway project.
Mr Hammah said the success of the project as well as Ghana's attainment of middle income status by the year 2020 depends on a very vibrant maritime sector, noting that 90 percent of trade worldwide was sea bound.
He made the call on Tuesday, when he paid a working visit to the Tema port to acquaint himself with the port's operations and challenges.
The Minister stated that the gateway project was a strategic programme drawn by government to attract a mass of investors into the country to create more jobs for the people.
Mr Hammah indicated that stakeholders must complement each other's role to enable the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improve from six percent to between eight and 10 percent.
He advised the GPHA to proactively develop its infrastructure especially at the Takoradi port to be well equipped to efficiently compete with other ports in the sub region.
He noted that the Takoradi port does not have the requisite infrastructure such as dedicated berths for supply vessels to support activities associated with the oil find at Cape Three Point, which is near the port.
Mr Nestor Galley, Acting Director-General of GPHA in a brief presentation on the ports' activities said a strategic plan has been drawn to transform GPHA into a land port authority.
Mr Galley said plans were underway to expand the infrastructure and efficiency at the port for Ghana to become the maritime hub of West Africa.
He announced that the GPHA declared a provident of $3,000,000.00 for 2007 yet to be paid to government as dividend, explaining that payment has delayed because the GPHA has not held its annual general meeting for year.
The dividend for 2008 has not been audited yet, although Mr Galley says, "it looks very good".
In an open forum, workers of the GPHA appealed to the Ministry of Transport not to divert the 25 percent of stevedoring work of the GPHA to private firms, as private companies currently control 75 percent of stevedoring activities at the port.
They also called on the government to urgently inaugurate GPHA's Board of Directors as the delay has negatively affected its operations.