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30.04.2008 Politics

President Meets Council Of State Members

By Samuel Amoako - newtimesonline.com

PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor yesterday described the water shortage in Accra and some parts of the country as 'regrettable' and said the government is very concerned about the situation.

Having foreseen a possible fall in the water levels of the dams at Weija and Kpong which serve Accra and its environs, the President said work has already started to link the two dams to make up for the shortfall in any of them and expressed regret that the project has delayed.

President Kufuor was responding to a concern raised by the chairman of the Council of State, Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, at the first quarterly meeting of the President and the Council at the Castle.

The President said the government was also in the process of securing a 200-million dollar loan to embark on a massive expansion of the Kpong Dam to enable it to pump about 40 million gallons of water daily to meet the water needs of the people.

He said work was on-going at various parts of the country to increase water supply and cited the expansion works at Barekese and Tamale in Ashanti and Northern Regions respectively.

He said the River Pra has also been diverted, treated and being supplied to the people to ensure an all year flow of water.

He said it was unfortunate that some people are making capital out of the issue. 'Let’s criticise but let’s do it constructively. It should not be made to be seen as if government is doing nothing about it.'

On the increasing price of oil and food on the international market which has affected developing countries, President Kufuor noted that it was a global challenge which must be tackled as such.

He said it was, however, important for Ghana to manage her affairs in such a way that the effect of it will not destroy the economy.

He admitted that the continuous increment in prices of petroleum products on the world market was having effect on Ghanaians and said it was gratifying that Ghana had struck oil in commercial quantities which will be available hopefully in two years.

On the food situation, he said the government was ensuring that the nation has reserves and added that 'Ghanaians should be appreciative of what the government is doing. The Ghanaian situation is not hopeless.'

On the supply of electricity, the President said the government was liaising with private sector operators to ensure adequate supply to the people.

He said with the various measures taken so far, he was optimistic that the country’s energy generating capacity could be doubled in the next two years.

On how to maximise the oil find in the country, he said the report from the oil and gas conference held recently and attended by various stakeholders including members from the opposition parties was very 'instructive.'

He said the government is fashioning out a policy to ensure that maximum benefits were derived from the find.

Earlier, Professor Adzei-Bekoe expressed concern about the country’s energy needs, frequent power outages and the need to ensure that 'the oil find became a blessing to Ghana.'

He commended the government for its decision to reintroduce Religious and Moral Education as a subject on the basic school curriculum.

Prof. Adzei-Bekoe also talked about the recent Liberian refugee crisis and said it was a matter of great concern to the Council of State.

'We were anxious that the good work that had been done with the offer of refuge for the Liberians should not be thwarted at the end of their stay,' he said.

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