By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
The Ghana Army (GA) has cut sod for the construction of Forty-Eight (48) 2-bedroom accommodation units for Army Officers, at the New Labadi Villas and Arakan Officers’ Quarters, Burma Camp, as Phase Two of a partnership endeavour intended to take care of the wide dispersion of Officers, to complement the Government’s Barracks Regeneration Programme, which is currently under implementation.
The sod-cutting event took place on Friday, 10th September, 2021, at the New Labadi Villas, with the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – Major General (Maj Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah as the Guest-of-Honour.
The project is a partnership between the GA and YAW ADDO DEVELOPMENTS Limited (a construction company), whereby the former provides land for equity, while the latter constructs not only accommodation for the Army Officers, but also a commercial facility, which would include a specialist hospital, hotel, mixed-use facilities and an underground car park with about a 1000 vehicles capacity.
The Public-Private-Partnership is in 3 phases; – 1) the construction of a 96-unit Chamber-and-Hall self-contained apartments, at the Army Officers’ Mess and is expected to be completed by the end of November, 2021 – 2) construction of 48 2-Bedroom apartments, expected to be completed in 18 months and – 3) construction of an ultra-modern Army Officers’ Mess entailing the Commerce Centre.
32 of the 48 units are to be constructed at New Labadi Villas, whiles the rest of the 16 units would be at the Arakan Officers’ Quarters.
The COAS acknowledged all who initiated the project, especially Maj Gen Richard Opoku-Adusei – a former COAS, and Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Benjamin Amoah-Boakye – Director-General, Legal, GAF.
In 2014, a committee tasked to redevelop the Army Officers Mess submitted that the value of the land, on which the current Army Officers’ Mess sat, was far more in value, than the value of the building sited thereon, thus, they recommended that the location, being strategic to attract potential investors, there is the need for a private partnership with the Army to redevelop the Mess.
In keeping with the modern architectural designs and skyline of the city, and a business aspect to ensure a sustainable cash flow to support the Army, a decision was taken after due diligence, to have a strategic partner – Yaw Addo Developments – to redevelop the Army Officers Mess, to add up to the various projects the GA is undertaken, in recent times.
On assumption of office in 2020, General Oppong-Peprah initiated an elaborate vision, a part of which is to accommodate a large number of GA young soldiers who face accommodation difficulties upon passing out.
Within the past year, the Army has completed various accommodation facilities at 153 Armoured Regiment, Gondar Barracks, 11 Mechanized Battalion at Mognori, near Bawku, a Ghana Military Police building, another for Three Battalion of Infantry (3Bn) Officers and Soldiers at Dorkokyina in the Central Command and at the Bundase Training Camp (BTC).
Additionally, GA, through self sponsorship, is constructing a 100-bed Accommodation each, at One Battalion of Infantry (1Bn), Michel Camp, Special Operations Training School (SOTS), Daboya and the Armour Training School (ATS), Sunyani, as 100-seater Lecture Halls are also under construction each at the SOTS and the ATS, with all these projects to be completed in the next eight weeks.
Furthermore, a new 320-bed unit with a 20-bed for Officers “UN Village” has been constructed, the Army Recruit Training School (ARTS), Shai-Hills has received renovation works, the BTC has had a modern conference hall, new water pipeline network being laid for the entire camp, as well as the installation of a new communications network, to help transform the Camp into a Centre of Excellence for Peacekeeping training, amongst others.
Dignitaries present at the event included the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Southern Command (S/COMD) – Brig Gen Michael Amoah-Ayisi, the Army Chief Staff Officer (CSO) – Brig Gen Charles Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director-General, Logistics – Brig Gen Prince Osei-Owusu and Dr Ben Otchere – Operations, Yaw Addo Developments, amongst many.