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20.02.2004 General News

More Communities to be connected to National Grid under NPP-Kufuor

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Nyinahin-Ashanti, Feb.20, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday said over 1,100 communities throughout the country would be connected to the National Grid under the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government by the end of the year.

He said while this was a major achievement, government was aware that many rural communities were yet to have electricity and every effort was being made to connect an additional 2,000 communities to the National Grid over the next five years.

President Kufuor announced this when he inaugurated an electrification project that would link Nyinahin and 23 other communities in the Atwima district to the National Electricity Grid at Nyinahin.

The project was financed by the Japanese government with a grant of 755 million Japanese Yen (about 6.3 million dollars) and Ghana government component of Eight Billion Cedis.

It included the installation of a 33 kilovolt (kV) transmission line of about 60 kilometres, a booster station, transformers for power distribution and other related equipment.

Since the commencement of the National Electrification Programme in 1989, the Japanese government has provided aid of about 40 million dollars for rural electrification projects in various parts of the country.

The Nyinahin project brings the total number of beneficiary communities of Japanese government assistance to 112, this is in addition to the significant financial support that the Japanese government is providing for infrastructure development in the country especially in the road sector.

President Kufuor said in the meantime, government was expanding the rural kerosene programme by providing additional kerosene tanks in all districts in the country to put kerosene within the reach of everyone. Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, Deputy Minister of Energy said government recognised that sustained provision and effective utilisation of energy resources especially electricity held the key to the realisation of the broad vision for Ghana's development.

He said it was to achieve this objective that government recently announced the Power Sector Reforms Policy Framework and Strategy aimed at introducing "change" with the view to improving the way of handling electricity business in Ghana to meet government's economic and business objectives.

The Deputy Minister said within the three years of the NPP administration, 163 towns and villages in the Ashanti Region had been hooked unto the National Grid and another 94 towns and villages would be connected to the grid by the end of the year.

He said a further 408 communities in the region would benefit from electricity supply under the SHEP-4 Project.

Mr Hammond said contracts had been awarded and works had already started in about 40 of these communities under the first phase of SHEP-4.

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