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The Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) has secured €1.84 million to enhance and expand the water and sewage facilities at the Tema Export Processing Zone (TEPZ).
Of the total investment, 90 per cent amounting to €1.66 million was made possible through a grant from Facility Investing for Employment (IFE), an investment mechanism created by KfW Development Bank and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).
While the rest, constituting €184,168, was committed by the GFZA for the construction of a new water storage facility composed of a 6,800 cubic-metre underground tank and 2,273 cubic metre overhead tank, as well as a modern pumping station.
As a result, the two organisations have signed a grant agreement to implement the project which is expected to address the current water demand of 1.7 million gallons (7,518 cubic metre) per day for the over 91 industrial companies at the freezone enclave.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GFZA, Michael Oquaye Jnr, signed on behalf of the authority, while the Managing Director (MD) of IFE, Steffen Kuhl, appended his signature for the German investment firm.
It was witnessed by a deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, and the Country Manager of IFE, Alessia Alvisini, as well as other officials of the two organisations.
Mr Oquaye said the Tema freezone enclave was faced with developmental challenges, including inadequate water supply for business operations.
“It is welcoming that IFE has identified these areas as potential projects around which partnership can be forged to help resolve some of these problems while creating more jobs and improving living conditions through the enhancement of employee skills,” he said.
He said the new project was intended to expand the water storage facility within TEPZ which was one out of the five industrial enclaves in the country by replicating the existing facility.
He explained that currently the Tema free zones enclave was served by a ground level tank (reservoir) of 6,800 cubic metre (1.5 million gallons) which pumped water into a high-level tank of 2,273 cubic metres (500,000 gallons).
He said the actual storage capacity at the enclave was 6,800 cubic metre while the high-level 2,273 cubic metre specifically served as a supply medium.
However, he said the ground level tank provided a daily supply of 4,090 cubic metres per day while reserving the buffer of 2,710 cubic metres to address emergency situations such as the need to fight fire and construction works undertaken by TEPZ.
He said the current demand left a demand-supply gap of 754,054 gallons per day that needed to be addressed.
“Sometimes, the companies purchase water from unreliable tanker operators at exorbitant prices to augment the shortfall as there are no other alternatives.
“The current shortfall has led to higher production costs, shortened production cycles, stifled expansion and slowed production growth, which invariably affects the need for accelerated job creation,” he added.
For his part, Mr Kuhl expressed his satisfaction with the agreement, saying that it would pave the way for the two parties to work together to address developmental challenges at the industrial enclave.
He said the investment made would help improve customer service and productivity of the Tema enclave industries.
He said with the resident industries into manufacturing and food processing in operation at full capacity after the water situation was addressed, it would create 1,500 additional jobs.
He noted that the IFE sought to remove investment barriers that prevented the creation of new and better jobs in the private sector in its partner countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia.
SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE