Petroleum Hub Development Corporation engages with stakeholders in Western Nzema Traditional Area

Petroleum Hub Development Corporation is intended to be a leading integrated petroleum complex created to add value to the upstream and downstream oil and gas value chain in Africa

The chief executive officer of the Petroleum Hub Development Corporation (PHDC), Charles Owusu has led his operations and technical team to update stakeholders in Western Nzema Traditional Area on the progress of work done in preparation towards the setting up of Africa’s first Petroleum and Petrochemical Hub in the Jomoro Municipality.

The stakeholders include chiefs, queen mothers, Western Regional Minister, municipal chief executive, staff of the regional coordinating council, opinion leaders, youth groups, students and members of the forty-six communities under the Western Nzema Traditional Area.

This working visit forms part of the corporation’s regular stakeholder and community engagement programme.

Addressing a forum, Owusu emphasised the government’s commitment in ensuring that the estimated $60 Billion investment sees the light of day this year- 2023.

He stressed that this US$60 billion investment is purely private sector led with Government providing the legal, regulatory and enabling environment for the investing companies to develop the project.

In addition to this, government is responsible for acquiring and securing the land, providing infrastructure such as roads, railway, water, power and other social amenities.

He also recounted several operational activities that have been completed in the acquisition of the 20,000-acre land required for the project.

He indicated that all the necessary documentation required by law have been submitted pending cabinet approval and issuance of an executive instrument to complete the land acquisition process.

He assured the people that deserving compensations will be paid to farmers and landowners as well as resettlement packages to the four affected communities (Nyamenle Kwame Ellowule, Bokakole Nkwanta, Asempaye and Old Kabenla Suazo) after the process of compulsory land acquisition is fully completed in accordance with the law.

He entreated the people of Jomoro especially communities directly affected by the project to keep being optimistic and support the project to succeed.

During the question-and-answer segment of the forum, some youth groups raised concerns about their lands and the land acquisition process. The technical advisor, in charge of Land Acquisition, Dr Eric Yeboah explained why the land is being acquired compulsorily by the state.

Dr Yeboah explained that an integrated and complex hub of this magnitude requires several acres of land in a low densely populated area and so Jomoro came up as a suitable location for this project.

He further explained the law and regulations supporting compulsory land acquisition for state use and elaborated on the rights and benefits that accrue to indigenes and owners of the land.

Dr Yeboah further explained that the footprint of the hub infrastructure itself does not cover the entire 20,000 acres of land. The enclave will include buffers, open spaces, road reservations, residential areas, commercial areas, schools, hospitals, police and fire stations, emergency response centres and other social infrastructure.

This means that about 10% of the land will be left as nature reserve.

Concerns were also raised about jobs, provision of social amenities and alternative livelihood for the indigenes.

The CEO and his team took turns to explain that different alternative livelihood and empowerment schemes have been put in place to support different groups of people in the affected areas.

He mentioned that the Corporation is building a Talent Management Repository where artisans, graduate trainees, technicians and employable groups will input their details and position themselves to take advantage of jobs within the enclave.

Capacity building initiatives have been outlined to train and prepare the youth for employment in the enclave. Discussions are ongoing with the technical and vocational schools within the Municipality to be used as training centres for these programmes.

There were discussions around gender marginalization, inadequate capacity of locals to participate in the development and implementation of petroleum activities, job creation and prevention of job losses among others…

The deputy CEO, in charge of Operations and Technical, Nana Ama Tima Boakye explained to stakeholders that several intervention programmes have been considered together with development partners and investors to bring relief to the people of Western Nzema Traditional Area through the local content interventions.

Owusu in his closing remarks emphasized that Petroleum hub projects around the world like Malaysia, Singapore, Rotterdam etc have turned their economies around and have helped several governments to massively develop their countries.

He said, that of Ghana will not be different in terms of the developmental plans and infrastructure – social amenities, healthcare, education, tourism etc.

He entreated all Ghanaians especially the people of Jomoro to embrace this development with an open mind and engage the Corporation to know more about the project.

Owusu thanked the chiefs and people of Jomoro for their support this far and assured them that his Corporation will do everything within its mandate to fulfil the developmental projects outlined.

Awulae Annor Adjaye III, the paramount chief of Western Nzema Traditional Area and president of the Western Nzema Traditional Council who doubles as the board chairman of PHDC expressed his joy about the project and stated that he will ensure that his people are well compensated for their lands and comfortably resettled taking into consideration their history and culture.

He, together with his queen mother, Awulae Nda Bozoma, elders, community leaders and the youth groups expressed their excitement and said they could not wait for the project to commence.

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