BlackIvy to complete Phase I of WestPark Industrial development project by end of 2019- Director Assures
BlackIvy Ghana, developers of the WestPark; an industrial, commercial and residential zone located in the free zones enclave of the Western Region, is set to complete the first phase of development work by end of this year. The company has in total of 405 acres of land in the free zones enclave, located in Yabiw, a rural community in the Shama District of the Western Region.
In a more strategic commitment to working within schedule and to satisfy stakeholders’ expectation, BlackIvy has contracted Consar Limited to begin the construction and development of infrastructure on a 52 acres of land for the first few tenants in the industrial enclave.
Speaking at a Community Stakeholders Townhall meeting today at the WestPark premises, Country Director for BlackIvy Ghana, Mr. Alex Canfor-Dumas stated that he is convinced their expectations would be actualized by end of the year. He however clarified that entire scope of work on the 405 acre land would progress in phases over the next couple of years.
“We have a big milestone ahead of us. We want to finish something before the end of the year. We will get something that is visible. And our commitment is unwavering, so is WestPark. WestPark has the resources deployed to make sure that this can come to reality.
“The plan is ambitious. It’s a multiyear development. We know it’s not gonna be over night that is why it’s gonna be in phases. But for the first phase you will see visible progress” he stressed.
Commenting on the company’s and its partners’ obligation to local content, Mr Canfor-Dumas assured of fulfilling to their fullest ability, any socio-economic responsibility to the local community.
“We believe in local content. Our mantra has been to deploy infrastructure projects that are sustainable…they have not just economic returns for our investors but we can build a huge social capital, that can enable the community and that we can transfer skills into the community”
Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah emphasized that companies that are “local content-compliant” tend to build healthy and sustainable relations with communities they operate.
“Local content is key. In fact, local content makes business sense because if you are able to recruit young men and women within this area to be working here, you are assured that even if when you have to provide them with bus, the distance will be shorter and you spend less on petrol and you make more profit” he said.
He entreated the company and its partners to publicise skills that would be needed to nail a job with them, in advance, so as to enable the local people prepare adequately.
Dr Okyere Darko stressed that “since this is a long term project, don’t tell us the requirement a week to employment. Tell us the requirement you need on this site at least one year to time. So that our people can be trained to fit in the places they can work to support the businesses that you doing here”
Building Local Capacity
Acting President of the Shama Traditional Council, and Chief of Yabiw Tradional area, Nana Kwamina Weinu II commended the BlackIvy for the level of engagement and commitment given to the local people and the project. He maintained that the company need to be much particular about building local capacities so as to support the economic livelihood of his people.
“If you have not trained anyone, who will want to? So you have to train people that you are coming to employ. Just recently, BOCH; one of the tenants of WestPark, assured me that they will be training lots of people not just for their company but for others. So I am satisfied that my request has been honoured” Nana Weinu said.
Nana Kwamina Weinu II lamented that some companies have been abusive and exploitative of the local workforce due to the nature of unemployment that has characterized not only the district but the country at large.
“Due to the nature of unemployment in our part of the world some foreign companies exploit our people. They come with their own labour regulations and laws and step side ours. They capitalize on this and then dictate to us. And this has been the cause of recurring labour agitations between management of these companies and staff.
“I don’t think Consar will do that. So give them fair salary, whatever is due them as stated by the country’s labour laws.
In a response to this demand, President of Sales, WestPark, Mr. Paulo Cruz hinted that a training academy would be established soon to build the local capacity to fill in vacancies in companies that operate at the enclave.
“We are now preparing a database management system to insert all the curricula that we receiving here, to be selected to be prepared… So that in the future all the companies that are coming here, starting with BOCH, DHL, Stanbic, they are all in the pipeline. From construction, automative, to garments and other factories, we are preparing a platform for the local youth to be employed” Mr Cruz noted.
Western Region a preferred industrial destination
President of Sales, WestPark, Mr. Paulo Cruz argued that the Western Region is undoubtedly the best choice for industrialization. He mentioned that the region has all that it takes to support the development and growth of larger industries due to the availability of transport networks including ports and rail, power, water and other resources.
“We often being asked why the Western Region. The Western Region has everything to make it. It’s got power. It has gas, and we negotiating with the Ghana Gas Company Limited to come into the park.
“Industries are in seek of power. Large industries need reliable power. And that is what we’re giving here at WestPark. We taking headaches away. We providing not only one power source but two, three and possibly four power sources. The same we doing water. We have pipelines of Ghana Water Company Limited passing right in front of our roads and we have eight bore holes done with good quality water and yielding plenty of cubic litres of water” he added.
The Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Dr. Ato Panford added that the Ministry of Railway Development, through his abled leadership has signed onto an MoU to extend railway connectivity to the WestPark industrial enclave to facilitate the shipment and haulage of industrial raw material and finished products.
He assured of his support for the project, adding that “we are going to give our full support to the company which is constructing the project and that which is the mother of the whole industrial park”
Hon. Dr. Ato Panford assured of facilitating an even distribution of industries in the Shama District to create more job opportunities for the people.
“Most of the industries have been centered around Aboadze and its power enclave. But it is my agenda that we spread the whole development across the length and breadth of this constituency. And by that we will also be establishing more of the industries in other parts of this constituency” he emphasised.