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14.10.2003 Regional News

100 communities to benefit from HIPC Funds

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Axim (W/R), October 14, GNA- Over 100 communities in the Western Region who are unable to generate funds internally to buy low tension poles to complete electrification projects are to be supported with HIPC funds.

Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Energy, announced this at a meeting with chief fishermen and fishermen in the region at Axim during a three-day tour of the region.

He said the beneficiary communities who he did not name are the only ones to be given such consideration because they could not afford to contribute to buy the poles for the electrification project that is being funded by the European Union (EU).

Dr Nduom said the assistance being given by the government to the communities demonstrates the government's determination to extend electricity to all parts of the country.

He appealed to other communities who are to benefit from the various electricity projects to raise funds from their own resources. Dr Nduom advised district and regional pre-mix fuel committees to submit their orders for fuel on time so that the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) could meet their requirements on time.

Mr Freddie Blay, the first Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Ellembelle, cautioned fishermen against smuggling of fuel to neighbouring countries, as this would defeat the purpose for which the government is subsidising the product.

He said smuggling of fuel is a drain on natural resources as it is imported with hard earned foreign exchange, which could be used by the government for other profitable purposes.

Mr Blay called on fishermen to close their ranks to prevent smuggling of the fuel and to expose those engage in it for the law to take its course

On behalf of the fishermen, Nana Kojo Konduah, Chairman of Western Regional branch of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Association, appealed to the government to bring down the prices of fishing inputs particularly outboard motors as the prices are prohibitive.

Mr Yaw Agyeman-Duah, Managing Director of Ghana Oil Company (GOIL), said pre-mix fuel is subsidized by the government to boost fish production and should not be used for vehicles, as the chemical composition of the fuel is not good for engines of cars.

He assured the fishermen that the company would ensure regular supply of the fuel for their work and to alert him whenever the fuel does not reach them.

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