The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, (NDC), Mr John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his commitment to resurrect the Atuabo Free Port Project when the NDC wins the December 7 general elections.
The $700 million free port project was to be constructed by Lonhro Port Limited and operational by 2017 to serve as a regional hub in promoting safe, effective and efficient offshore businesses. But some Members of Parliament of the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) took the Mahama government to court to halt the project.
Addressing the Chiefs and people of Nkroful in the Elembele constituency on Wednesday, as part of his five-day campaign tour of the Western Region, Mr Mahama maintained that the Atuabo Free Port Project, which his government planned for Western and Eastern Nzema, was to help create jobs for the youth as well as enable Ghana derive maximum benefits from its oil find.
“We planned building free port at Atuabo. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding; our brothers from other political divide took the project to court, stalled it till we left office and they have completely discarded the idea since they took over power,” former President Mahama said.
He was however hopeful that the NDC will win this year’s general elections and make the project a top priority to create decent and sustainable jobs for the people.
Mr Mahama said one of the key areas the next NDC government will focus on will be job creation, adding this will address the unemployment and hardship confronting Ghanaians .
He said his commitment to implementing Free Technical and Vocational Education and Training (T-VET) as well as state-sponsored National Apprenticeship Programme to equip the youth with employable skills is unwavering.
Mr Mahama also said legalise and regulate okada business so that okada riders can go about their businesses legally and safely.
He said to ensure universal access to healthcare and to remove cost as a barrier to healthcare, he will implement a Free Primary Healthcare policy that will deliver free access to healthcare at all district hospitals, polyclinics, health centres and CHPS compounds.
Mr Mahama said the policy will ensure that the remaining 60 per cent of Ghanaians who are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme because the cost is a barrier under the scheme will get free access to healthcare.
On mining, he pointed out that the next NDC government will streamline the mining industry to enable the youth to take part in responsible community mining under the guidance of a Gold Board. This, he noted, will also help create jobs for the youth.
Speaking on the recent balloting by the Electoral Commission, the NDC presidential candidate explained that the second position on the ballot paper is a sign of victory for the NDC in the upcoming general elections.