Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister of Ghana, has rescheduled the date for the presentation of the Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government and supplementary estimates for the 2023 Financial Year as some constituencies pile up the pressure on government to include several developmental projects into the mid-year budget.
The Finance Minister, meanwhile, postponed the address to Thursday, 27th July, 2023 instead of Tuesday, 25th July, 2023 as earlier announced. He cited the Grains Development Authority Bill, 2022, Ghana Industrial Property Office Bill, 2023, Rent Bill, 2023, Budget Bill, 2023, and the National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
He thus, urged all Committees of the House with referral Bills to expedite consideration on the same for the attention of the House. Consequently the Business Committee recommended that the House commenced sitting each day at 10:00 am and extended sittings to ensure that business scheduled for the eighth week.
Residents Appeal for Budgetary Allocation for Cape Coast Airport
Though many constituencies tabled their developmental projects that must be included in the mid-year budget, residents of Cape Coast Metropolis were in arms against the government, asking the government to redeem its promise to construct a Cargo Airport in the historic city of Cape Coast.
Ahead of the Mid- Year Budget Review slated for Thursday, July 27, the people of Cape Coast appealed for budgetary allocation to be made available in the Mid-Year Budget Review to ensure the eagerly anticipated project sees the light of day.
With focus on tourism and aviation excellence, the proposed facility would become Africa’s foremost centre for large- scale repair of aircraft and training of personnel to provide rapid response when disasters occur.
The move is in tandem with the government’s economic transformation agenda to give a strong boost to intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA).
The residents noted that the facility would boost tourism-related businesses and at the same time attract investment in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and logistics. It would also diversify the local economic activities leading to job creation, higher income levels, and improved standard of living.
The promise to construct an airport in the Region was made during the launch of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) 2020 election manifesto in Cape Coast on Saturday, August 22, 2020.
Outlining excerpts of the manifesto during the launch, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said, “we will accelerate our investments in roads, railways, and ports. And for the people of Cape Coast, I have good news for you. We are building a new harbour in Cape Coast and a new airport in Cape Coast”.
“It is very critical that we do that. An airport makes a lot of sense in Cape Coast – it’s a real tourism hub. Among Greater Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast, you have a triangle that is an economic activity. It is a major growth pole if we put an airport there to drive infrastructural growth.”Mahamudu Bawumia
Since the manifesto launch, some government officials in various capacities have given assurances that the project would surely become a reality.
In May 2021, Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, assured the people of the Central Region that President Akufo-Addo’s promise to build an airport in Cape Coast was not an empty one but something that would be done.
Addressing the Central Region House of Chiefs, the Minister said, “I am making a firm promise that by the end of the four years, the airport would be built.”
In yet another instance, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, delivering the 2021 budget in Parliament on March 12, 2021, in his capacity as caretaker Minister of Finance, said feasibility studies for the development of an airport in Cape Coast has commenced.
Mr. George Essien, an Administrator with the University of Cape Coast, said the presence of an airport would necessitate the development of supporting infrastructure, including improved roads, transportation networks, and utilities.
These developments can enhance the overall quality of life in rural areas, making them more attractive for both tourism and permanent settlement. “The Airport will also facilitate increased tourism, which in turn creates employment opportunities and generates revenue for local businesses,” he said.
The administrator added that the presence of an airport attracts more tourists, encourages the establishment of hotels, restaurants, and other amenities, and promotes the growth of the tourism industry in the region.
Ms Florence Ansaba, a cultural enthusiast with the Central Regional Centre for National Culture, indicated that the facility would enhance cultural exchange and understanding. Tourists come from diverse backgrounds, traditions, and perspectives, leading to the exchange of ideas and fostering cultural understanding, she said.
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