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President Mahama directs Bui Power Authority to resolve labour issues

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Bui workersPresident John Dramani Mahama has directed the Bui Power Authority, Managers of the Bui Dam project to settle any labour dispute between the company and the local employees with immediate effect.

He entreated the current local employees to also exercise patience as the government was concerned about their plight and would ensure they obtained excellent compensation packages when they were laid-off.

The president gave the directive on Tuesday when he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of Banda-Ahenkro at Bui in the Banda District of Brong-Ahafo Region.

President Mahama and some ministers of state including Mr Prosper Kwaku Bani, Chief of Staff, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations had earlier inspected ongoing works on the construction of a 400 megawatts dam.

President Mahama thanked the chiefs and people in the area for voting massively to retain the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in power and assured them that the government would also ensure that the people got their fair share of the national cake.

He said as a national asset, the Bui Dam project on completion would also bring development to the area and assured both the skilled and the unskilled laid-off employees of jobs.

Reacting to an appeal by Okokyeredom Kwadwo Sito, Omanhene of Banda-Ahenkro, President Mahama said now that the people had resolved the land litigation and chieftaincy dispute in the area, he would personally ensure that the land compensation package that had been locked up was release to them as soon as possible.

The President expressed satisfaction with on-going works on the project and was optimistic that the first power supply from the dam would come on as scheduled.

Mr Jabesh Amissah-Arthur, Chief Executive Officer of the BPA affirmed that the project was about 89 per cent complete and was in the final stages of construction, adding that power supply would be obtained in April this year.

He said the overall progress of the transmission lines stood at 62 per cent complete, explaining that four transmission lines were being constructed to aid in the evacuation of power from the Bui generating plant to the national grid.

“These four lines will send power produced from the plant to the four GRIDCo substations in Sawla, Techiman, Kintampo and Sunyani for distribution to consumers”, Mr Ammissah-Arthur added.

The development of the Bui Hydroelectric Power Project on the Black Volta at the Bui Gorge had been the subject of many studies, including detailed studies by J.S. Zhuk Hydro Project of USSR in 1966, a feasibility study by Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) of Austria in 1976 and another feasibility study by Coyne et Bollier of France in 1995.

Main construction of the project, which was expected to cost about $622 million, started in 2007 with a concessional loan of $263.5 million from the Chinese Government and a buyer’s credit of $298.5 million from the EXIM Bank in addition to government’s contribution of $60 million.

It was designed primarily for hydro power generation and includes the development of an irrigation scheme for agricultural development and presents an opportunity for enhanced eco-tourism and fisheries.

The project also includes a resettlement and community support programme.

Source: GNA

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