Government is closely monitoring developments on the closing phases of the construction of the West African Gas Pipeline Project, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu has said.
He said the project was on schedule and would be supported to put an end to the debilitating energy crisis facing the country.
Mr Baah-Wiredu was speaking to the GNA in an interview after an unannounced inspection of work at the Regulating and Metering (R&T) Station at Tema.
He said government was concerned about the current huge energy bills and was keen to ensure that the project was completed quickly to bring the nation's energy capacity to the right levels.
Mr Baah-Wiredu urged workers on the site to push hard to complete the job on schedule.
He said industry and the manufacturing sector were uncomfortable with the current energy situation and expressed confidence that they would soon be spared the present ordeal of load shedding and its resultant loss in production.
He added: “Government and corporate revenue base also suffer if industry and the manufacturing sectors are unable to pay the right taxes and dividends because they are unable to produce and meet set targets.”
The Volta River Authority (VRA) embarked on a load shedding exercise last year due to the low-level of water in the Akosombo Dam, resulting in the laying-off of staff by a number of industries and manufacturing concerns while others shut down due to higher overhead costs.
However, government has announced a series of measures to increase the amount of energy available. These include procurement of generators and additional power from Nigeria to beef up production.
Michael Streeting of the WAGP at the Tema site said the R&T Station was nearly complete. What is outstanding is the completion of the 800 metres berm (boulders that hold the sea waves from obstructing construction of the pipelines to the R&T Station), which is 75 per cent complete.
He said: “Pipes are already on site to be laid over the same distance to join the main trunk line from Nigeria to Takoradi. The Takoradi berms were completed two weeks ago.”
He gave the assurance that the WAGP Project would be completed by May this year with the first flow of gas by June.
The WAGP, a brainchild of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), born in 1982 but took off in 1990, is a 600-million dollar project that draws gas from Nigeria region, through Benin, Togo to Tema and Takoradi in Ghana.
An energy shortage experienced by Ghana, Togo, and Benin in 1997-1998 renewed interest in the pipeline project resulting in the establishment of a Consortium of Chevron, Shell, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Societé Beninoise de Gaz (SoBeGaz), and Societé Togolaise de Gaz (SoToGaz) August 1998 which signed an agreement commissioning a feasibility study on the WAGP.