By Abu M. Monor
In a recent statement, Hon. Kwame Agbodza, a Minority Chief Whip, sought to clarify the historical context and significance of the Tamale Airport Redevelopment Project initiated under the leadership of former President John Dramani Mahama.
Addressing the claims and counterclaims surrounding the project’s inception, Hon. Agbodza highlighted the role played by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in transforming Ghana’s aviation sector.
He said the Tamale Airport Redevelopment Project, a flagship initiative of President Mahama’s administration, was a testament to his vision and commitment to bridging the north-south divide in Ghana. Adding that the primary objective was to establish Tamale as a viable alternative to the Kotoka International Airport, capitalizing on its unique geographical location and minimizing the corrosive impact of sea breeze on aircraft.
According to him, Phase I of the project encompassed an extensive overhaul of the existing infrastructure. The runway was rehabilitated and extended from 2,438 meters to an impressive 4,000 meters, “a milestone that marked Ghana’s possession of the longest runway.” Additionally, he continued, the scope included the expansion of the apron to accommodate medium-sized aircraft, construction of an inner perimeter fence, and establishment of access roads.
Notably, the Minority Chief Whip said that the Tamale Airport project aimed not only to enhance the country’s aviation capabilities but also to leverage the region’s potential as a hub for the annual Hajj pilgrimage and exporting agricultural produce.
He emphasized that the expansion facilitated the successful transport of a record number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, highlighting the project’s immediate impact on religious tourism.
Agbodza reinforced the fact that the groundwork for the Tamale Airport Redevelopment was laid during the Mahama era. Contracts and agreements, such as the Buyer Credit Agreement and the Commercial Agreement, were entered into with financial institutions and construction companies to ensure the project’s execution.
He pointed out that the Phase I was inaugurated by President Mahama on August 19, 2016, symbolizing a significant step toward realizing the airport’s potential.
Hon. Agbodza highlighted Phase II of the redevelopment, focusing on the construction of a terminal and cargo section, which was also part of the comprehensive plan.
He revealed that the financing arrangements for Phase II were secured under the previous administration, dispelling any notion that the current government’s involvement was central to the project’s conception.
Agbodza concluded by addressing attempts to attribute the project’s success to the Nana Addo/Bawumia governments.
He emphasized that substituting lenders for Phase II or any subsequent changes in financing did not alter the fact that the Tamale Airport Redevelopment was initiated and steered by the Mahama-led government.
He underscored that the project stood as a testament to the former president, John Mahama’s vision and commitment to growth, regional integration, and trade facilitation.
With these clarifications, Hon. Kwame Agbodza aimed to ensure that the historical record of the Tamale Airport Redevelopment Project accurately reflects its origins and significance in Ghana’s aviation landscape.