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31.10.2008 General News

Accra Airport could still be used for next 20 years - Aviation Minister

Accra Airport could still be used for next 20 years - Aviation Minister

Mr Joe Baidoo Ansah, Minister for Aviation on Thursday said the Accra International Airport could be at its present location and still be used for the next 20 years.

The assurance was amidst concerns to calls by some Members of Parliament to move the Airport from the present site to a distance away from town for security reasons.

Mr Ansah however, added that the nation could also have two international airports at different places to ease congestion at the present Accra Airport.

Mr Ansah made the remark on the floor of Parliament as the House ratified a Suppliers Credit Facility between the Government of Ghana and the GK Airport Company Limited of Ghana for amount of US$122 million for the rehabilitation of regional airports in Kumasi, Sunyani and Takoradi.

The House also ratified a mixed Credit Facility between the Government of Ghana, the New York branch of Societe General, and the World for World Organisation, for an amount of US$41.7 million for the design, supply and installation of permanent Steel Modular Bridges across the country.

Significantly, the House took the Northern Development Fund Bill, which would give legal backing to the proposed establishment of the Northern Development Fund to provide addition additional resources to support accelerated economic growth and sustainable development in the three Northern Regions: Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

The proposed fund, with a seed money of GH¢25 million, Finance Committee Report noted, “is not meant to be a substitute for existing and traditional government funding towards the three Northern Regions.”

The Committee, referred to the Northern Development Strategy, which had the intent to reduce poverty in the three Northern Regions to about 20 per cent within 15 years, and observed some of the components of the Strategy were food, livelihood security and peace initiatives as well as institutional capacity building to make institutions deliver effectively on their mandate.

The Committee Report stated: “As part of measures to comprehensively develop the North, two new hydro electricity dams would be built in the North to ensure adequate, consistent and reliable power supply to that part of the country. Negotiations are currently ongoing to raise an amount of US$500 million from Brazil to undertake this project as part of overall strategy.

Contributions from both sides of the House lauded the proposed fund and called for prudent management, avoidance of conflicts, while stressing peace and development of infrastructure in the North as base for the take-off of development.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu (NDC –Tamale South)- pointed out that there was the need to establish the source of seed money for the Fund and Mr Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, Deputy Majority Leader suggested part of the petroleum proceeds from Ghana's oil find when the nation began drilling in commercial quantities, be put into the fund.