The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, has assured that work on the $993 million Pwalugu multi-purpose dam will commence soon as the necessary consultation with the various stakeholders is nearing completion.
He said actual ground works had not started because the necessary engagements and consultations with the major stakeholders including the communities to be impacted by the construction of the project were still ongoing.
“The reason why actual construction has not started is because the project is a very big one and those to be affected are many. It is such that some of the communities may have to be relocated to other regions. This is the reason why the project has not seen actual construction but it shall surely come on,” he emphasised.
Mr Yakubu disclosed this in a response to a question by the Ghanaian Times when he took his turn at the bi-weekly Minister’s Briefing in Accra yesterday.
He said the $993 million project when completed would be the single largest investment ever made in Northern Ghana.
He said the sod cutting ceremony for the project was performed by the President about two years ago and would act as the game changer.
Touching on agriculture, the Minister said the Upper East Region was an agrarian region with an estimated farmer population of about 537,659 comprising 247,626 males and 290,032 females.
He said agriculture had been the major economic activity of the region with over 80per cent of the populace directly or indirectly engaged in the value chain.
Mr Yakubu noted that in view of this, the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had implemented a wide range of flagship programmes which had created the enabling environment for agricultural activities to flourish in the region and beyond.
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Ghana Commercial AgricultureProject(GCAP) rehabilitated and improved the canal system, lateral units and automated the entire canal system,” he said.
The project, he said, also installed solar panels to power the systems and this had since guaranteed long term access to water through well maintained and managed irrigation infrastructure.
This, he said, had increased the cropping of vegetables, legumes and cereals thereby doubling the employment opportunities to farmers and investors within the catchment area and beyond.
Apart from agriculture, he said the government had invested heavily in the health sector in the region.
He said the region was benefiting from the agenda 101 with eight districst all receiving one of the hospitals.
Similarly, he said the government had also invested heavily in the road sector with more than 2,250kilometres constructed.
These, he said, included feeder, urban and highways with the Bawku-Polmanku road almost completed.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL