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The 33-kilometre Tarkwa-Damang asphalted road, constructed at the cost of 27million dollars, was on Tuesday inaugurated at Damang in the Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region.
The three-year project, financed by Gold Fields Ghana Limited, began in June 2016 and completed in July this year, would link the Tarkwa-Damang communities including Aboso, Bompieso Amoanda, Huni-Valley, Kyekyewere and Nyamebekyere.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Vice President, Gold Fields Limited, Mr Alfred Baku, hoped that the project would promote significant socio-economic development of the host communities, open more economic opportunities and create jobs and other viable ventures along the various routes.
Describing the rehabilitation of the Tarkwa-Damang road as historic, he stated that the project was a high priority to the Aboso Gold Fields Damang Mines, the Community Consultative Committee and the local authorities.
He recalled that meeting of the Community Consultative Committee had not been held without due consideration to the Tarkwa-Damang road, adding that several efforts with the government to upgrade it did not materialise.
Mr Baku, was therefore, happy that the project had been completed and commended the Road Implementation Committee, the Ghana Highway Authority, the consultants and the contractors for the good work they did.
"I am happy to announce that the road would last for the next 20 years and beyond." he added.
The Executive Vice President of Gold Fields recognised that the government alone could not fulfil the task of developing the host communities, adding that the mining companies alone, could also not satisfy all the needs and expectations of the people.
He, therefore, suggested that the government should allocate adequate resources from the mineral royalties "to augment our efforts".
Mr Baku said the peaceful co-existence between Gold Fields and the host communities had yielded mutual benefits, adding that, "We expect the communities to play their part because the future is promising."
Inaugurating the project, the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere-Darko-Mensah, commended Goldfields Ghana Limited for constructing the Aboso–Damang road, as one of the company’s priorities.
He also thanked the chiefs for the peaceful collaboration with Gold Fields to improve the state of this critical road, stressing "indeed, working together for the good of the people."
The government, Mr Darko-Mensah noted, attached great importance to the provision of infrastructure using its own annual budgetary allocations and also seeking funding from other sources, especially, development partners.
The minister argued that the Western Region, endowed with variety of resources including fishery and mining, and recently, oil and gas, attracted multi-national companies, local businesses and private entrepreneurs, and "should not be in want if government budgetary interventions delay".
He explained that the companies and entrepreneurs were an additional opportunities and strengths for the region, and urged both political and traditional leadership and community members, especially the youth, to collaborate, rather than be in conflict.
Mr Darko-Mensah said this collaboration would attract the business entities to do more than was required under their social responsibility agreements and tax obligations.
Caption—The Western Regional Minister, Darko Mensah (extreme right in white) cutting the tape to inaugurate the road. From left are Vice Pres of Gold Fields Mr Baku (third left in dark glasses), MP for Prestea-Huni Valley, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi (fifth from left)