Ghana has signed a pact with the Japanese government to commence phase two of the Tema Motorway Interchange project at an estimated cost of one million dollars.
The project, expected to take off in September, this year, would see the transformation of the parallel two-tier interchange into a three-tier to further hasten turnaround time at the interchange.
Forming part of government's international corridor road improvement project to facilitate trade within the West African sub-region, the project is to be undertaken by Messrs Shimizu Dai-Nippon, a Japanese construction firm.
At a brief ceremony in Accra yesterday, Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, Mr Himeno Tsutomu and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu, both signed the document to that effect.
Two other agreements, for the supply of medical equipment to some selected health facilities and a scholarship programme for government human resource officials, were also signed at the event to the tune of 4.5 million dollars and 2.4 million respectively.
The Deputy Minister in a remark, recounted the various development assistance Ghana had benefitted from Japan through its Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in areas of maternal and child health, transportation, energy, agriculture and human resource development, among others.
According to him, besides the Tema Motorway roundabout project, the Japanese government was also supporting Ghana in the construction of a new bridge across the Volta River on the Eastern Corridor road.
"This is in line with the President's vision to improve the capacity, safety and efficiency of transport and freight on the Tema Motorway roundabout, as well as facilitate trade and transit in the West African sub-region.
"It is my hope that the projects when completed would ensure safe, efficient road transportation and contribute to the efficient flow of goods and services," he said.
Mr Owiredu expressed appreciation to Japan for being a key partner in Ghana's development, expressing hope that "the bilateral relations between Ghana and Japan would continue to grow from strength to strength."
Commenting, Mr Tsutomu indicated that the "grant assistance to Ghana are to showcase the strong Japan-Ghana friendship and partnership and it is our wish that these projects will make valuable contribution in your country's development."
The ambassador used the occasion to commend Ghana for efforts made so far in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, expressing optimism that with measures put in place by the government, the disease could be better controlled "as Japan has done."
On his part, Deputy Roads and Highways Minister, Anthony Karbo, stressed that government was focused on improving the country's road infrastructure in line with its "Year of Roads" declaration.
He lauded the Japanese contractors for executing the first phase of the interchange project on schedule and hoped the "phase two will bring more discipline and traffic ease on the stretch."