Almost 10 months after the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture cut the sod for the establishment of a smock factory at Gushiegu in the Northern Region, part of the proposed site for the factory has been turned into a football park, while the rest is overgrown with weeds.
Some children were playing on the land with goalposts erected at both ends when the Daily Graphic visited the site on July 10, 2018.
A herd of goats were also seen feeding on the green vegetation.
The site, which was cleared for the sod-cutting ceremony in September last year, is yet to have a brick laid, although it was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
The factory is to serve districts and communities in the Eastern corridor, including Karaga, Yendi, Bimbilla, Cheriponi, Saboba and Zabzugu.
Among other objectives, there will be large-scale production of smock at the factory for export.
An estimated 300,000 people are expected to benefit from direct and indirect jobs at the factory.
The initiative forms part of the government’s One-district, One-factory programme and is expected to be replicated in the Western corridor of the region.
When completed, it will have facilities, including an arts and culture theatre, a banking hall, a bulk breaking pavilion, a game centre, a meeting room, souvenir shops, a pool bar, offices, a museum/reading room, weaving areas and a hotel.
At the sod-cutting ceremony on September 27, last year, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Ziblim Issah, had said smock weavers all across the Eastern corridor were going to congregate at Gushiegu and the community would become the centre of excellence in smock weaving.
Dr Ziblim, who is the Member of Parliament for Gushiegu, said the Northern Region was noted for its cotton production and so the factory would help in the value chain of processing cotton into yarns by women to be woven and sewn by men.
When contacted, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Gushiegu, Mr Issah Musah, said the project was currently under procurement and would proceed by the end of August.
He stated that the assembly had, in the early part of July, received the architectural design of the centre from the Architectural Engineering Services Limited, which had been tasked to design it.
Mr Issah acknowledged the fact that the sod-cutting had been done in haste before the architectural design was done.
“It is not a ghost project; it will come to fruition. A lot of young women and the youth will get employment. It is a very big project from which the constituents will benefit. Some of the old folks will also be working there to earn income for their families.
“We have been receiving enquiries about the project. It is a project that will come on. They should wait; we want to do value for money and not something in a haste. We want everything to follow due process,” he said.