President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday inaugurated the Sokaban Wood Village Complex, an ultra-modern enclave built for carpenters and wood sellers at Anloga and other parts of Kumasi.
It involved the construction of sheds, access roads, electricity and reliable water supply on 12.35 hectares.
The 11 million Ghana cedis project, jointly funded by Agence Francaise Development and Ghana Government, forms part of the Kumasi Roads and Urban Development Project.
President Kufuor said with the completion of the project, the way had been paved for other components of the project including the road works, an interchange at Timber Gardens and Oforikrom Junction to progress smoothly.
He said the project would in addition, attract and generate substantial traffic and account for a significant percentage of the economy as well as providing a more secure, safe and congenial environment to the hardworking wood workers to increase productivity in the timber industry.
President Kufuor was optimistic the provision of adequate modern infrastructure facilities in the area would no doubt contribute to the high productivity and wealth creation of the people.
He expressed the appreciation of Government and the people to France for the support and assistance Ghana continued to enjoy from her.
President Kufuor described the project as a landmark initiative and a functional monument to the friendship and co-operation between Ghana and France.
He asked Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to institute measures including private sector participation to ensure the continuous maintenance of the facilities to achieve the long-term objectives of the project.
President Kufuor said the assembly should take proactive measures to acquire additional land to accommodate apprentice-trainees who after completion of their training, might want to set up some sheds there.
Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Minister for Transportation, said the Ring Road Urban Development Project consisted of five main elements which were, the Oforikrom-Asokwa by pass, Lake Road, Lake Road Interchange, Landscaping of the Aboabo River banks and Sokoban Wood Village Complex.
He said the resettlement plan of the wood workers also included the payment of compensation to residents’ structures within the area.
Dr Anane announced that 500,000 euros had been allocated for the management of the resettlement process for the provision of wood processing equipment, drying kiln, training for the workers, HIV/AIDS /Malaria prevention campaigns and forest plantation development.
He said the project would in addition, assist in the transportation of their equipment and wares from Anloga to the wood village and hoped their re-location would be completed by the end of January 2009.
Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, expressed appreciation to the chiefs and people in the area for providing land for the project.
Daasebre Osei Bonsu, Mamponghene who represented Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, urged the chiefs and people of the area to team up with the management committee to ensure successful implementation of the project to enhance the living standards of the artisans.
Mr Francis Hurtut, France Ambassador to Ghana, said the project would strengthen the cordial relations between both countries to ensure development.