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22.09.2004 Regional News

Use the emerging unity among you for development-Ga Chiefs told

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Tema, Sept.22, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday called on Ga chiefs and their communities to harness the positive new spirit of unity emerging among them productively to tackle some of their developmental and social problems.

The problems, he said, were proper town and country planning, urban poverty, unemployment, poor sanitation, drug abuse, the menace of land-guards, burglary and armed robbery that were characteristics of modern cities, including Accra and Tema.

"All these should engage the attention of the Chiefs, landlords and the people", he added.

President Kufuor made the call when addressing a grand durbar of the Chiefs and people of Tema.

He said the Government on its part was pursuing economic and social policies aimed at resuscitating the economy, enhancing needed social services and improving the general well-being of the citizens.

President Kufuor said particular attention was being paid to programmes aimed at reviving the private sector, creating more jobs and during the past four years a solid foundation had been laid for accelerated development of the nation.

He commended the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), the Kpone and Tema Traditional Councils for working closely to resolve issues concerning the site for the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project.

On development projects at Tema, President Kufuor said the Government was putting appropriate infrastructure in place to modernise the Tema Port City and its surroundings to support a modern cosmopolitan economy.

Others were the construction of a sea defence wall to secure the land for the people of Sakumono, Tema Manhean and Kpone, two contractors had been contracted to trace the original owners of wrecked ships, which had been abandoned along the coast and work together to remove them to clear up

President Kufuor expressed the Government's determination to sustain the modernisation programme to make Tema city the preferred investors' destination.

He said work on the Tema-Accra rail line and its main bridge at Baatsonaa had begun and development of the Container Terminal at the Harbour would be completed by May next year.

On the VALCO issue, President Kufuor said the Government had shown its commitment to purchase the Company from its original owners and would soon come out with the plan for the Company's future.

He said the Government was also studying the problems and payment of compensation on lands taken by past Governments for projects to take a firm decision on them, adding, " the Government would not act arbitrarily on land issues. It will consult the chiefs and come out with amicable solution to the problems".

Nii Adjei Krakue, Chief of Tema commended the Government for the numerous development projects that had been provided for the area since 2001.

However, he appealed for early solution to the problem of VALCO and the release of lands acquired by past Governments that had not been utilized, to the chiefs and payment of compensation on some of them.