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22.11.2004 Regional News

Government begins tarring feeder roads in Western Region

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Sefwi-Boako (W/R), Nov. 22, GNA - The Government has embarked on an accelerated programme of tarring feeder roads in the Western Region. President John Agyekum Kufuor who announced this said, "This was not the situation in the past, but given the high rainfall pattern in the region, the government has embarked on an accelerated tarring of feeder roads".

He was speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for work to begin on the reconstruction of the 50-kilometre Sefwi-Wiawso-Benkyema Junction road project at Sefwi-Boako in the Sefwi-Wiawso District on Sunday.

The project estimated at about 24.2 million Euros (about 155.2 billion cedis), is being financed under a 35 per cent ORET grant from the Netherlands government, 56 per cent insurance cover loan from the Fortis Bank and the Ghana government counterpart funding of nine per cent, and is expected to be completed within 28 months.

The project forms the first phase of the reconstruction of the Sefwi-Wiawso-New Debiso-Osei Kojokrom road to link Cote d'Ivoire and the second phase would continue upon completion of the first phase. President Kufuor said the government would continue with its road reconstruction and improvement programme to make travelling safer and easier for Ghanaians.

He said the concerted efforts of road users, was also necessary to safeguard and prolong the life span and safe use of these roads. President Kufuor said the government was committed to improving accessibility to all parts of the country to facilitate access to goods and services.

He said in addition, the government was determined to link major agricultural areas to marketing and processing centres to stimulate economic activities.

"Every region and district is benefiting from these road projects, which are being guided solely by equity, viability and transparency", he added.

President Kufuor said currently three major trunk road projects being undertaken in the Western Region were the 80-kilometre Bibiani-Abuakwa road, the 62.4-kilometre Axim Junction-Tarkwa road and the 34-kilometre Manso-Asankrangwa road.

He said the Sefwi-Wiawso-New Debiso-Osei Kojokrom road project on completion would promote the socio-economic development of the Western Region in particular and the entire country.

President Kufuor said it would in addition promote the ECOWAS inter-regional trade with Cote d'Ivoire.

Mr Mar Van Der Gaag, Counsellor and Head of Development Co-operation at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, said the road would integrate the region even more into the national market, open up the area for development and in addition play its part in the ECOWAS regional integration and development. He said ORET assists in infrastructure projects such as water works, roads, harbours and mass transportation. Mr Gaag said Ghana had since 1995 benefited from ORET facility totalling 500 million Euros (about 600 million dollars). Dr Richard Winfred Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport, said construction of culverts at appropriate sections of the road and a new bridge over River Sui.

He said the Ministry would harmonise the country's road requirements with the neighbouring countries as Ghana provided a transit corridor for the efficient and cost-effective movement of goods and services within the sub-region.

Dr Anane said the Ministry had secured a fleet of vehicles for monitoring activities independent of the agencies and would ensure that the road was constructed to high quality and safety standards to meet the demands of the increasing volume of traffic on the route. He said the Ministry was in addition strengthening its supervisory capacity to reduce sub-standard works.

Nana Nkuah Okumdom II, paramount chief of Sefwi-Wiawso traditional area, said past governments promised to reconstruct the road but it was only the NPP government that had fulfilled its promise to the people. He appealed to the contractors on the project, Interbeton, to employ most of its work force from the youth in the area.

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