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12.02.2009 General News

Mike Hammah promises to restore KIA…to its past glory

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Mr. Mike Hammah, Minister-designate for Transportation, has told the Appointments Committee that he would work hard to regain the category one rating of the Kotoka International Airport, by the United States Federal Aviation Administration, which it lost because the liquidated Ghana Airways flew substandard planes to the USA.

Answering questions as to what he would do, should he be given the nod to head the ministry, Mike Hamah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, said also said he would use what he described as the “Three Es Approach” – Education–Engineering-Enforcement - to reduce carnage on the country's roads, if given the nod to become the Minister of Transportation.

Mr. Joe Gidisu, nominee for the Ministry of Roads and Highways, on his part, said delays in the payment of local contractors were hindering the opening up of some portions of the country by these contractors.

He said when given the nod by Parliament, he would help in building the capacity of these contractors, and help to empower them financially, to ensure that they competed favourably with international contractors to win bids in the country.

Mr. Gidisu, who was responding to questions from the Appointments Committee on Monday, said he would ensure that Ghana had value for money for roads constructed, and urged the Members of Parliament to take an interest in projects being carried out in their constituencies, to ensure that only good roads were constructed.

On charges that there were perceptions about corrupt practices associated with the operations of the Ministry, Mr. Gidisu said he would pursue an open and transparent programme to deal with corruption.

Alhaji Collins Dauda, nominee for the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, who also took his turn before the Committee, said he would go into commercial wood plantation to deal with environmental degradation, and the restoration of the forest cover.

He said, currently, the forest cover of the nation could be pegged 1.6 million hectares, a major drop from 8.2 million hectares that the country enjoyed at the turn of the last century.

Mr. Dauda also touched on the challenges posed by small-scale miners, known as galamsey, and chain saw operators, and said there was the need to streamline their operations, to ensure that they operated within the laws.

On issues of land use, he said poor documentation, land ownership, and lack of proper planning, were some challenges, which should receive attention.

He said coupled with the promulgation of the new Lands Commission Act, there should be an improvement on land use.

Dr. Joe Oteng Adjei, nominee for the Energy Ministry, when he appeared before the Committee said the policy of rural communities contributing to a percentage for electrification under the Self-Help Electrification Project, would be reviewed to lessen the burden on these rural communities.

On issues of increases in electricity tariffs, Dr. Oteng-Adjei said the use of pre-paid metres, the blocking of illegal use of electricity, and the improvement of network and wires to reduce technical problems, should add up to reducing electricity tariffs.

In response to perceptions that the oil discovery was a curse to some African countries, the nominee said the NDC Government would involve all stakeholders, and pursue a policy of transparency, to ensure that Ghana's discovery of oil became a blessing.

Ms. Sherry Ayitey, nominee for the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, who also appeared before the Committee, said she would pursue a programme of public education at the various levels, to address the problem of sanitation, and ensure a clean environment.

Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, nominee for the Eastern Region, told the Committee that he would promote the development of local industries, based on local resources available in the area.

He touched on the bauxites deposits, local tourist attractions, and other areas that would receive his attention to create employment for the people in the area. - GNA

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