The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Coastal Development Authority (CODA), Jerry Ahmed Shaib, has disclosed government’s plan to begin a sea transport system in the country.
The initiative, when rolled out, will go a long way to ease the traffic situation in the country.
Mr Ahmed Shaib, said his outfit is currently working on the CODA Sea bus, which will run from Axim to Denu.
Speaking in an interview on Citi TV monitored by the Daily Statesman, he said: “Fortunately, the President has asked the Ministry of Transport and GAPOHA to work on the landing beaches. The structure is that the ferry will be stopping at the landing beaches. We are in serious talks with a private institution and we are far advanced.”
“We have gone back to Attorney General, back and forth, just to streamline matters. Sea bus system has operated in several countries. The major area is Indonesia. And we have gotten people to go to Indonesia to look at how it operates, and I can assure you that it’s feasible in our part of the world. Ghana and will work very hard to materialise it,” he added.
The CODA CEO further stressed that transportation is important not only as the means to move from point to point, but also to encourage developments, distribution and accessibility throughout the country.
“And look, today, sea transportation and its infrastructure in Indonesia have become the backbone towards a significant progress of Indonesia’s effort to be acknowledged by the world’s eye,” he stated.
Mr Ahmed Shaib said one of the major challenges coastal communities are battling with is the issue of sanitation and waste management.
He lamented the spectre of coastal communities being littered with debris and filth of all sort, including empty water sachets/bottles, polythene bags, disposal cups, coconut husks and sandals, which are either dumped into the drains that discharge into the sea or dumped directly onto beaches.
He stressed that keeping the environment clean should be seen as a collective effort, and not only the preserve of government. He recommended the reintroduction of sanitation officers who in the past were able to deal drastically with sanitation defaulters.
“That aside, communal education must also be embarked on in these coastal areas… If I had my way, that is all I would be executing. People should be made to understand that you don’t have to litter, and when you do so, the law should deal with you. And then, we should stop politicising everything. Someone is picked for littering the environment, and it becomes political,” he stated.
He also revealed that the Authority had embarked on numerous poverty alleviation programmes as part of efforts in achieving the principle of sustainable development, and bringing development closer to the doorstep of people within the coastal zones of the country.
He pointed out that one of such projects is the ‘CODA drive’ initiative, which provides commercial motorcycle riders Bajaj Qute vehicles on a hire-purchase basis.
This, he said, forms part of processes to phase out the commercial motorcycle business, also known as ‘okada’.
“The CODA Credit Union is also there to support traders, fishers, commercial drivers, food vendors, hawkers and small scale farmers in terms of loans. It is a non-profit financial institution controlled by its members. It is a member owned financial cooperative.
“So far, the CODA Health Train programme, in collaboration with NHIA, has also provided free NHIS card registrations to uncountable vulnerable people in the zone. The programme involves the provision of free health screening, medication and surgeries for Fibroid, hernia and other minor surgeries,” he disclosed.
The CODA CEO also revealed that his outfit had rolled out the CODA clean beach campaign in the coastal zones across the country.
“The intervention seeks to tackle the insanitary conditions along the beaches, as well as mobilise coastal communities to be involved in environmental cleanliness and provide basic infrastructure and facilities to maintain clean beaches,” he added.
He mentioned that projects like roads, classrooms, community centres, lorry parks, boreholes, durbar grounds, astroturf pitches, health facilities, libraries, bridges, drains, markets, had been completed in the Greater Accra, Central, Volta, Oti, Western and Western North regions.