Ghana commits $90m to power 400 communities in Upper West Region

The Government has committed $90 million for the extension of electricity to 400 communities in the Upper West Region, under the Rural Electrification Project.

Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister of Energy, announced this on Friday at durbar to educate the people on the project, at Siiriyiri in the Wa West District of the region.

The Minister said that the electrification project was one of the three initiatives promised by President John Evans Atta Mills for the people of the Upper West, Northern and Upper East Regions.

He said the President made the promise based on an assessment carried out by the Ministry of Energy on access to electricity in Ghana.

The assessment, according to Dr. Oteng-Adjei revealed that the Northern Region had electricity coverage rate of 43.52  per cent, Upper West 31.95 per cent and Upper East 30.39 per cent, which  fell far below the national average of 72 per cent.

Dr. Oteng-Adjei said the project and the other involving 140 communities, currently under the Self Help Electrification Programme was in line with the National Electrification Scheme, which aimed at extending electricity to all parts of the country by 2020.

The project, according to the Minister, was part of the Government’s policy of developing the Northern sector of the country under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

The electricity project was anticipated to benefit about 300,000 people across the nine districts of the region, creating 30 permanent jobs and 200 temporary jobs to serve as an ingredient needed for the socio-economic development of the beneficiary communities.

Dr. Oteng-Adjei stated that the project had 30 per cent local content and advised the China International Water and Electric Corporation  (CWE) to ensure that Ghanaians, particularly the indigenes of the Upper West become involved in the execution of the project.

Alhaji Issahaku Saliah, Upper West Regional Minister assured the Minister that he and the District Chief Executives (DCEs)  and traditional rulers of the area would support the project.

Mr. Seidu Tungbani, DCE for Wa West, in a speech read on his behalf, said electricity coverage in the district had been limited to eight out of 209 communities and that under the current project, 58 more communities would be connected.

Naa Sohimwininye Danaah Gore II, Paramount Chief of Dorimon  and President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, commended the President for keeping to his promise.

He pledged that the traditional rulers would contribute to the implementation of the electricity project, and appealed to the President to grant the people three months grace period of payment of electricity bills after the project had been commissioned.

Wang Weiqiang, Construction Manager of CWE assured the Minister and the people of the region that the project would be completed before the three-year schedule.

Source: GNA

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