The Paramount Chief of the Bolgatanga Traditional Area, Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III has called on government to consider a pragmatic programme designed to factor in an effective water transport system to northern Ghana, under the Savannah Accelerated Development Programme.
He suggested that the Volta Lake and its tributaries could be developed well into proper routes for transporting passengers and heavy and bulky goods with ease from the south to northern Ghana and parts of the Brong Ahafo Region.
Already, there is an existing transportation system on the Volta Lake from Akosombo to Yape in the Northern region. However, it has not been developed to do large scale commercial business such as carting heavy duty equipment and goods to the Yape wharf.
Naba Abilba said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at his Palace in Bolgatanga, after successfully chairing the Upper East Region turn of the Meet the Press series held in Bolgatanga on Friday.
He observed that the road network to the three northern regions consistently deteriorate at a very fast rate because there is so much activity involving heavy loads of cargo trucks on it,
He noted that such bulky goods could be transported by water transport instead of the use of roads, which reduces the life span of the roads.
The Paramount Chief noted that the roads, which were built to the north in the late 90s with a 20 to 30 year life span guarantee, could not even last more than 10 years and government had to pump huge sums of money to do maintenance work.
He attributed the sharp deterioration of the road network partly to too much pressure and over usage, as well as other factors, including shoddy work as a result of poor supervision.
“After five years of construction, these roads have developed potholes”, he added.
Naba Abilba said government should consider the proposal for the water transport system for the north seriously, adding that apart from the destruction of the roads, the water transport would help in the development of the area.
He further proposed the construction of an in-land port in the northern region to promote brisk business with neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo which would also help to foster a stronger bond of friendship.
He said government could source for funds from these countries for a successful implementation of the Volta Lake water transport project and cited the West Africa Gas Pipeline, as one of such collaborations and network that has been successfully implemented in the sub-region by different nations.
He said the fight against poverty can be achieved through an affirmative action such as the establishment of the Savannah Accelerated Development Programme and getting those programmes truly implemented.
Naba Abilba was of the view that an alternative transport system would open up the three northern regions to other market potentials and investments, saying that, most often, business interests are scared from doing business in the north because of the huge freight charges.