General News of Sunday, 2 December 2018
Work has stalled six years after a colourful sod cutting ceremony was performed to commence the construction of an ultra-modern Press Centre in the Ashanti Region.
Encroachers who have taken over the project site, have turned portions of the land into a Maize Farm.
The project, which was due to be completed in six months, has been left under the mercy of the weather due to lack of funds.
The then regional executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) mooted the idea and sought the support of the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council to fund the project.
The then Ashanti Regional Minister, Eric Opoku, agreed to support the project with direct funding from the Presidency at that time.
Subsequent regional Ministers have not continued to ensure the completion of the project which is at the lentil level.
A visit to the project site revealed that weeds have taken over, and encroachers who are lodging in the building have also cultivated maize on the portion of the land.
Reptiles were also seen in and around the project which was supposed to benefit journalists in the Ashanti region.
Some Journalists who spoke to Citi News expressed worry about the current state of the facility.
One of the journalists said “it is very worrying, very disturbing. It also describes the kind of work that we do. We champion the course of others, but we don’t seek to make sure that some facilities that will enhance our work are put in place. Look at its state; taken over by weeds and reptiles”.
The Ghc 583,000 two-storey building comprises a reception, a well-furnished computer room of 200 seating capacity, 2-syndicate rooms, five administrative offices and a 200-capacity conference Room.
Other facilities at the Centre, include a Kitchen, 2 dining rooms and washrooms and a fence wall.
The project was estimated to be completed in six months after the inauguration.
Ashanti Regional Chairperson for the GJA, Kingsly Hope, said the project when completed will not only benefit journalists in the Ashanti Region, but also other journalists in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and West Regions.
According to him, all efforts to get the current Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah on the project have not been successful.
He disclosed that the GJA will be forced to hand over the project to a private entity on Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis if government fails to ensure its completion.
“If our efforts of meeting the Ashanti Regional Minister is not going to be effective, I think we have to look outside, get private entities to come in and then Build, operate and then if it is five years or whatever, transferred to the GJA”, he said.
The journalists want the government to ensure the project is completed.
One other journalist said “If you mean well for journalists in the region, I think that whoever is interested or concerned should try to finish up this project and it will be one of the legacies we can say that during the era of this Regional Minister or this Government, journalists in the Ashanti Region also had a Press Center”,
The project when completed, would serve as a medium for effective meeting point for information gathering by journalists and would as offices for the leadership of the GJA.
Click photos for more pictures