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06.12.2004 Press Review

ISD News File - Monday, Dec. 6, 2004

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President Kufuor has performed the sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of the 620-kilometre offshore West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project that will convey natural gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana.

The $600 million project will initially supply most of its output to power plants in the participating countries.

The expected benefits from WAGP include cheaper and cleaner energy, with a projected savings of between $700 million and $2.5 billion over 20 years by the four countries.

Speaking at the ceremony at the Aboadze Thermal Plant near Takoradi in the Western Region, President Kufuor said WAGP was no longer an idea on a drawing board but a feasible project which was supported by the World Bank and earmarked by the African Union as a flagship project under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). PRESIDENT KUFUOR CUTS SOD FOR CONSTRUCTION OF FLOUR MILL President J. A. Kufuor on Thursday cut the sod for work to begin on the construction of the Eastern Flour Mill at Asokore-Kuma at the cost of ¢110 billion.

Cutting the sod for the project, President Kufuor said, the initiation of the project was an indication that the NPP government was committed to supporting local businesses to develop and contribute to the national economy.

The project, which is the initiative of Bufkob Limited, a Ghanaian business entity is being financed from a mixed credit from Denmark and Italy. It is expected to be completed in July 2005, for the production of flour to commence in earnest. VICE PRESIDENT IN YENDI The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, has urged traditional rulers and custodians of Dagbon to use traditional processes to resolve the chieftaincy problems in the area.

Alhaji Mahama noted that the Dagbon issue needed truth, honesty and the avoidance of intruders to help address it.

He therefore stressed the need for all stakeholders involved in the Dagbon issue to place the area above their parochial interests to ensure lasting peace in the area.

The Vice President stated this in Yendi on Wednesday during courtesy call on some traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the area on the second day of his visit to the Northern Region.

Alhaji Mahama called for unity in Dagbon and encouraged the people to find ways of making it possible for the truth surrounding the Yendi crisis to come out. GHANAIANS GO TO THE POLLS TOMORROW The Electoral Commission (EC) has said that all arrangements have been completed for smooth polls tomorrow and dismissed fears that there could be shortage of electoral materials at some polling stations.

The Director of Elections at the EC, Mr. Albert Kofi Arhin, who stated this in an interview, said all the necessary measures have been put in place to ensure a smooth, free, fair and transparent elections. He, therefore, called for the co-operation of all stakeholders.

According to him, all materials needed for the polls have been dispatched to the various district centres for onward distribution to the polling stations on elections day.

Mr. Arhin expressed the hope that with the training of candidates' agents and presiding members, people would not resort to physical means of solving issues but rather allow civility to prevail. FOREIGN TEAMS IN TO STUDY GHANA'S POLLS The Chief Director of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Kwame Damoah-Agyeman, has said that due to Ghana's successful management of past elections, the international community will not be sending external observers to monitor this year's elections, as was the case in previous years.

Foreign missions in Ghana are rather contributing personnel who will observe the elections under the auspices of the Accra office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Damoah-Agyeman said, Ghana's record of organizing successful elections has attracted two separate delegations from other African countries, who are in Ghana to witness and study the conduct of tomorrow's general elections. Their observations are expected to inform the management of the electoral process in their home countries.

He said the first delegation represented the Association of African Election Administrators (AAEA), which undertakes comparative studies of election in Africa. The membership of the delegation is drawn form Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.

The second group, which is from Liberia, is in the country under the sponsorship of the International Federation of Electoral System (IFES). WORLD BANK SUPPORTS EDUCATIONAL SECTOR The World Bank has provided a grant of $8 million to support the country's educational sector, following the endorsement of Ghana's educational sector programmes by development partners in March 2004.

Ghana's programme places priority on achieving the Millennuim Development Goals and Education for all Fast Track Initiative (EFA/FTI).

In an interview, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, said the money would be used to support government's policy on one-pupil-to-one-textbook ratio by providing textbooks in english, mathematics and science for pupils and students at the primary and junior high school levels.

The Minister stated that the government was playing its role to realise its dream of education for all. He, therefore, appealed to district oversight committees, district directors of education and all stakeholders to co-operate with the government by playing active roles to enable it to achieve its targets. SPORTS STARLETS QUALIFY The national under-17 soccer team, the Black Starlets, reached the next round of the African Championship qualifiers after beating their Tunisian counterparts 2 – 1 in Tunis yesterday.

The Starlets qualified 5 – 2 on aggregate to meet Ethiopia in the last qualifier, having won the first leg 3 – 1 in Kumasi two weeks earlier.

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