Volta Lake continues to experience challenges despite its potentials – Minister

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Volta Lake
Volta Lake

Despite the huge potential of the Volta Lake for the socio-economic development of communities within its catchment area, transportation on the Lake is fraught with challenges.

Mr Fredrick Obeng Adom, a Deputy Minister for Transport, said the existing vessels and landing stages were in poor conditions or non-existent in areas where informal boat operations abound.

“Port operations are poorly equipped to handle existing shipments and several unregulated boats provide services for passengers and goods around the lake with a consistently poor record of safety and increasing death toll of passengers,” he said.

Mr Adom made the observation at the opening of a stakeholder consultative workshop on the feasibility study for the development of the Volta Lake Inland Water Transport System (VLIWTS) in Accra.

He said the workshop was to enable the consultant of the study to present the key findings of the assignment and recommendations for the best options and practices to be adopted by the government.

It was also to provide an opportunity for individuals, groups, associations, persons with disabilities, professionals and Traditional leaders, market women, boat owners and operators, fisher folks, MDAs and MMDA’s to make inputs and suggestions into the Draft Feasibility Report.

Mr Adom said the Lake was a key part of Ghana’s transportation system and a major transport link within the Eastern Multi-modal Transport Corridor.

It was created as a result of the Volta River Project to generate hydroelectric power for industrial development in the 1960s.

He said Inland water transport had been identified as a key component of an integrated, multi-modal transport network to provide cost-effective transportation for socio-economic development as well as provide strategic, cost-effective long-distant transportation of bulk wet and dry cargoes in Ghana.

“Unfortunately, transportation on the Lake and its surrounding regions, both formal and informal remains underdeveloped,” he added.

The Volta Lake Transport Company Ltd (VLTC) incorporated in 1970 is currently the main institution responsible for the operation of transport on the lake and provides a range of cross-lake ferry services, long north-south services and supplemented by an increasing number of private boat operators.

“It is evident from the communities around the lake that they are highly dependent on the local services and the reliability of cross-lake ferries are major determinants of socio-economic activity in those communities,” the Minister said.

He said the Ministry with support from the World Bank under the Transport Sector Improvement Project engaged Messrs Vision Consult in Joint Ventureship with KPMG Ghana to undertake a comprehensive assessment study for the development of the VLIWTS.

Mr Adom said the Consultant was expected to undertake extensive stakeholder consultations on the Draft Feasibility Report.

Consultative sessions have already been held in Tamale in the Northern Region, Dambai in the Oti Region, Kpando in the Volta Region and Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

Prof. Kwesi Kwafo Adarkwah, Team Leader, Vision Consult in Joint Ventureship with KPMG Ghana, said the study was to develop the full potential of the Volta Lake within the framework of an integrated multimodal transport system, expand and improve the inland water transport infrastructure and its inefficient transport services.

He said it was also to facilitate rapid exploitation and expansion of trade, agriculture and economic activities of Ghana and provide opportunities to improve connectivity and livelihoods of the rural communities living along the shores of the Volta Lake.

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