Construction work on the proposed four-storey Ministry of Defence Complex commenced yesterday with officials from China and Ghana cutting the sod in Accra.
The 7,600 square-metre edifice, which is to cost some 6.75 million dollars, would be situated behind the Base Ordnance Depot of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) near the Aviation Social Centre. It is to be completed in 18 months.
The Chinese government has provided a grant of five million dollars, whilst the Ghana government is providing 1.75 million dollars for the project. When completed, it would accommodate the Defence Minister, his deputy, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Service Chiefs and their administrative staff.
The Beijing Institute of Architectural Design designed the complex, while the Quingdao Construction Co-operation Group of China is undertaking civil works.
The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Sakyi Hughes and the Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference jointly cut the sod for the commencement of the project.
Defence Minister Kwame Addo-Kufuor said the commencement of the project marked another positive step in the relations between the Ministry and the Chinese government. He said the new office complex offered the government of Ghana the opportunity to relocate the Ministry outside Burma camp, which many in the country regarded as the appropriate thing to do.
The Minister said the current MOD building did not befit international standard and image of the GAF, adding that the project when completed would provide the appropriate conducive and befitting working environment for the MOD and the top hierarchy of the GAF.
Mr Wei Jianguo, Chinese Deputy Minister for Commerce, described the project as "another symbol of friendly co-operation between the two countries," saying, "both governments attach great importance to this project."
He noted that China and Ghana were developing countries facing the same task of developing their economies and building their nations.
Mr Wei expressed the hope that both governments would work together to explore new avenues for economic and trade co-operation to further develop existing bilateral ties between them.
The GAF has been the beneficiary of Chinese assistance in a number of significant projects. Prominent among them include the Burma Hall, the Beijing Barracks, the Dongfeng Chinese trucks currently in use by the armed forces and the purchase of the K-8 jet fighters.