The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) is set to commerce the transportation of petroleum products on the Volta Lake to the northern parts of the country after a four-year break.
In 2006, BOST terminated its agreement with the Volta Lake Transport Service, which use to convey petroleum products and entered into agreement with another company.
According to the Minister of Transport, Mike Allen Hammah, the move eroded the revenue base of Volta Lake Transport Company.
“This caused serious financial constraints and the company was unable to maintain and replace its obsolete operational equipment,” he added.
Mr Hammah was responding to a question posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Afram Plains South, Raphael Kofi Ahaligah regarding measures that the Ministry of Transport was adopting to revive the ailing Volta Lake Transport Services Company.
He said following the unsuccessful efforts of the Ministry of Transport to get BOST to use the Volta Lake Transport Service, Cabinet's intervention is currently being sought to restore the transportation of petroleum products to the north through the company.
According to the Minister, the termination of the agreement with the Volta Lake Transport Services had affected its finances as the transportation of petroleum products contributed 70 percent of the revenue generated by the company.
He indicated that last year the company generated a total revenue of GH¢3 million while its operational cost for the year was over GH¢4 million.
The poor financial situation of the Volta Lake Transport services contributed to its inability to replace over-age ferries, develop its landing stage and reception facilities to enhance its services.
“The situation of the Volta Lake Transport Company now calls for bold determination and commitment on the part of government to provide necessary funds to sustain and improve safe transport on the Volta Lake to enhance the socio-economic situation of the communities in the catchment area to reduce poverty,” he added.
To revive the company, which is at the verge of collapse, the Minister of transportation has also sought Cabinet's approval for the Ministry of Finance and Economic planning to release GH¢80 million to repair two ferries that were neglected for over five years to ply Kojokrom, Ketekrachi and Kpando.
He mentioned that cabinet is also being lobbied to approve the release of another GH¢5 million for the company to repair its operational equipment.
Mr Hammah, who is also the MP for Effutu, disclosed that his outfit has finalized negotiations with the World Bank to utilize part of funds under the transport sector programme for feasibility studies to procure engines for three ferries.
The Ministry, he indicated, has also concluded procurement processes to get two new ferries and also rehabilitate the floating docks with funds from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) as well as construct landing stages and reception facilities to improve passenger transport.
The MP for Salaga, Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakari asked about what the Ministry was doing to ensure the urgent replacement of the only ferry that serves the people of Yeji and Makango.
In an answer, the minister said, “The engine, which is 30 year old, is being replaced and the ferry will resume service before the end of March 2010.”
To forestall accidents and ensure safety of people, Mr. Hammah revealed that the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has been directed to step up monitoring and education of commercial boat operators.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey