PRESTEA-HUNI VALLEY : Gov’t to connect 1,300 communities to national grid
In line with the implementation of the National Electrification Scheme, the government and Weldy Lamont Associates have concluded an agreement to supply electricity to 1,300 communities in the next five years.
The project, under a United States government EXIM Bank facility would cost US$350 million and help improve access to reliable and affordable energy services to communities in Western, Central and Brong Ahafo regions.
At the regional launch of the project at the Huni-Valley, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Deputy Energy Minister, said the government seeks to provide reliable supply of energy to Ghanaian homes and businesses.
He said the energy development agenda is focused on widening the access of energy to all households, productive sectors and social infrastructure, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy which is a key cornerstone of the Millennium Development Goal.
Mr Buah said 860 communities in the Region would benefit from the project of which 54 are located in the Prestea Huni-Valley District.
He said the Energy sector has since 1990 been implementing the National Electrification Scheme (NES) aimed at extending electricity to all parts of the country by the year 2020.
The objective of the NES includes poverty reduction, increasing the overall socio-economic development of the nation and increasing the standard of living.
Mr Buah said at the inception of the programme in 1990s, only 15 percent of Ghanaians were connected to the national electricity grid.
This figure, he said, increased to 43 percent by December 2000, as of January 2009 when the NDC Government assumed the reins of Government, the access rate had risen to 54 percent adding that in two and half years, the NDC Government had increased the access rate of electricity from 54 percent to 72 percent.
Mr Buah said the Ministry would collaborate with the contractors of the project and Ghana Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to organize community sensitization durbars in all the beneficiary districts to educate them on the project and the efficient use of power in their various homes.
The General Manager for Weldy Lamont Associates, Mr John Williams, said as the general contractors for the project, it had undertaken environmental studies in the beneficiary communities.
He appealed for cooperation and support from all the beneficiary communities to ensure the success of the project.
He said 16 out of 17 Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts in the Region are benefiting from the project adding that because villages along roads would also be connected, the Region could even have 1070 communities benefiting from the project.
The Western Regional Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana, Mr David Kofi Afewu, said the ECG would provide technical support on the project to ensure that materials used meet the appropriate standards and specifications.
He appealed to people who would connect electricity to their homes after the completion of the project to engage competent and qualified electricians.