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16.08.2004 Regional News

Five Communities benefit from 4.5 billion-cedi water project

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Tamale, Aug 16, GNA - The government under the HIPC initiative, has provided five communities in the Tamale Municipality with stand pipes at a cost of 4.5 billion cedis.

The communities are Adubiyilli, Bulpella, Datoyilli, Kakpayilli and the Nakpanzoo campus of the University for Development Studies.

Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Minister of Works and Housing, announced this when he commissioned a new revenue collection centre for the Northern Regional office of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), in Tamale on Saturday.

The Regional GCWL initiated the project, which included a water treatment laboratory, at a cost of 142 million cedis from its internally generated resources.

Alhaji Idris said the GWCL would soon embark on a programme to extend water to Tolon and some rural communities in the area.

He expressed the hope that these interventions would improve the economic well being of the people and reduce the incidence of water-borne diseases, especially guinea worm.

There was currently an imbalance of water supply in the Tamale Metropolis, he said and announced that the government was holding discussions with a consortium to source funds to address the situation and urged the communities to use water wisely.

Mr Samuel G. Lamptey, acting Managing Director of the GWCL, said the government had absorbed the 103 million-dollar given to the company for its operations.

The company, he said, had also paid about 89 billion cedis it owed to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

He commended the government for the gesture, saying: "This will give us a breathing space to restructure our operations and be more efficient". Mr Lamptey said the only source of revenue for the company was the collection of tariffs and warned that any staff caught embezzling would not be spared.

He said the new revenue collection centre would provide an avenue to customers to pay their bills, report on water supply distribution problems in their communities and lodge complains about meter reading errors and disparities in billing.

The acting Managing Director noted that water supply, maintenance and development of new systems and expansion of existing ones entailed huge capital and appealed to customers to pay their water bills regularly. Mr Matthew Adombire, Northern Regional Chief Manager of the GWCL, said revenue collection had significantly improved in the Metropolis since the abolishing of the house- to- house revenue collection and commended customers for their cooperation.

He said centres would be built at Damongo and Yendi by the end of the year to improve revenue collection.

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