The entire high-pressure pipeline of the West African Gas Pipeline is about 99.3 per cent complete with Tema and Takoradi's laterals 91.9 per cent and 99.4 per cent complete respectively, Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu told Parliament on Thursday.
Outlining the Ministerial milestones in line with promised programmes for 2006 at the presentation of a Supplementary Budget in the House, Mr Baah-Wiredu said shore crossings in Lome and Cotonou have also been completed, adding that construction of the regulatory and metering stations at Tema and Takoradi were yet to start.
He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was leading an effort to replace the existing short-term financing of Ghana's 96 million dollar equity with long-term financing.
In developing the WAGP secondary gas market, he said a Draft Policy Paper for the development of the secondary gas market in Ghana and implementation strategies was ready for Cabinet consideration.
The Energy Commission has submitted a draft Standards of Performance and Rules of Practice, Licensing Regulations and the Health and Safety Rules for gas transportation.
He said the Public Utility Regulations Commission had submitted Tariff Methodology Principles and was working on the detailed tariff framework.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said the fabrication of 1,500 surface tanks and accessories had been completed, of which 1,078 had been distributed through the District Assemblies under the Phase II Project of Rural Kerosene Distribution Improvement Programme (RKDIP).
Under the Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) and Conventional Buoy Mooring (CBM) Project at Offshore Tema, the Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) and Conventional Buoy Mooring (CBM) had been installed at offshore Tema.
The 36 inch and 18 inch offshore pipelines had been laid with works within the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) premises (that is, the laying and tie-in of 36" and 18" pipelines) had been completed. The entire project was completed in November 2005.
"The system has been under test-run since February 2006 with products such crude and finished products. An appropriate date for commissioning of the facility will be communicated to the Presidency for approval", he said.
The Buipe-Bolgatanga Petroleum Products Pipeline Project was completed on October 7 2005 and handed over to the Government under the management of the Bulk Oil Storage (BOST) Company.
The Take over Certificate was signed on October 9, 2005 while the commissioning of the project is expected to take place by the end of September, 2006.
The Kumasi BOST Depot Expansion Project was completed and commissioned and 18,000m cubed tank capacity had been provided.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Accra-Plains Depot (APD) expansion was completed and would be ready to receive products in September or October 2006. The Project would provide additional 80, 000 m3 tank capacity.
"Work on Buipe and Bolgatanga Depots expansion for additional capacities of 30, 000 m3 each is on-going".
He said 10 product tenders were organized by National Petroleum Authority (NPA) comprising three gasoline; three gas oil and four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargoes. The Authority monitored TOR operations and together determined the short fall of products to be imported.
Importation of refined petroleum products was done by the private sector through International Competitive Bidding process.
On what the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had done in the year under review and proposes to do for the rest of the year, the Minister said private sector led growth was being spearheaded by the Agricultural Sector.
"This is intended to promote rural development through modernized agricultural practices to ensure that the Agricultural Sector plays a vital role in the growth and poverty reduction agenda of the country".
A three-year rolling strategic plan covering 2006-2008 has been developed from the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP).
Implementation of the plan is expected to facilitate the economic transformation of the Agricultural Sector with one of the strategies for modernizing agriculture being to promote agricultural mechanization.
In line with this, the Government imported and assembled the first consignment of 200 Indian Farm track tractors that were offered for sale in 2005. A second consignment of 400 knocked-down tractors had been delivered this year out of which 321 had been assembled and distributed.
The remaining 79 are being cleared from Tema Harbour for assembly and distribution.
He said 70 districts under the Ministry of Local Government were allocated 210 tractors out of the 321 that were assembled to ensure that farmers had access to timely mechanized services.
He mentioned Avian Influenza as a major threat confronting the poultry industry as a national concern, stressing that a National Taskforce made up of representatives from Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Health, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and development partners had been established.
The Taskforce has put in place appropriate mechanism to contain the disease in the unlikely event of an outbreak.
The Finance Minister said funds had also been released to the Ghana Cotton Company for the procurement of cottonseeds and land preparation.