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01.06.2007 General News

Re-denomination would not affect savings - Kufuor

Re-denomination would not affect savings - Kufuor

President John Agyekum Kufuor has expressed optimism about the smooth and successful implementation of the country's currency re-denomination, which comes into operation in July, this year.

He said he was confident that the change-over to the new Ghana Cedi was going to be smooth.

President Kufuor, who was responding to commendations of the Government by the Council of State for the bold decision, assured the nation that the exercise would not cause any loss of savings.

The Chairman of the Council, Professor Daniel Bekoe at the council's second quarterly meeting with the President at the Castle, Osu, affirmed the full support for the re-domination, saying, members appreciated the rationale for the change.

The energy crisis and the outlook for the future of the economy, the drug menace, the turbulent labour scene and the upcoming African Union (AU) Summit in Accra were among urgent issues discussed.

President Kufuor called on Ghanaians to show more understanding and support for the Government's efforts at fixing the country's energy problem.

He said they were doing everything to address the shortfall through the importation of emergency strategic plants and the encouragement of investors, including the mining companies to install their own plants to close the gap of 350 megawatts of power caused by delayed rainfall.

Additionally, he said, the Government was negotiating for a coal plant.

President Kufuor said other alternatives, including solar, tidal waves of the sea and nuclear, were all being explored.

The President said with the Bui Hydro-electric dam which was bringing on board 400 megawatts on completion, the target of government's medium to long term programme would double the nation's energy capacity generation within the next four to five years.

He said the Government was also determined to modernise the electricity transmission and distributions systems to ensure efficient use of the resource.

He denied that the current power crisis was the result of the lack of foresight on the part of the Government, stating that, right from the year 2001, it saw the need to diversify the energy sources, citing the payment of Ghana's equity in the West African Gas Pipeline Project, a retrofit of the turbines of the Akosombo Dam and expansion works on the Aboadze Thermal Plant.

President Kufuor also touched on the drug menace threatening the society and announced that the Government was reconstituting the Narcotic Control Board to help effectively deal with the problem.

It was in addition, working in close co-operation with international partners to fight the menace.

Professor Adzei-Bekoe said the Council was impressed with the degree of penetration of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the flagship project of President Kufuor's Government.

Currently, it has about 43 per cent coverage and this is expected to go up to 60 by next year.

He said they were also pleased that the construction of the Bui Hydro-electric dam was about to start and advised that in all public statements, careful and accurate estimates of timings be clearly given in order not to raise expectations too high.

Source: GNA