Accra, Dec. 13, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Marfo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Monday suggested exploring of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) fund to resettle the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra, from their present location.
He said the difficulty in relocating the residents for the smooth progression of the Korle Lagoon Ecological Restoration Project (KLERP) was due to poverty, and added that this would be resolved soon to make way for the early completion of "this useful project".
Mr Osafo-Marfo made this observation when he and Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital inspected works on the KLERP at Korle Gonno in Accra.
Also in the entourage were the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry and MP for the Ablekuma South Constituency, Ms Theresa Amerley Tagoe and the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Bimpong Buta. Works on the KLERP, which started in January 2000, is expected to be completed by July next year. Already 70 per cent of the work has been completed under a fund of 89 million dollars.
The project is to help ecologically restore the Korle Lagoon to its former state in which marine life was abundant.
On completion, it would offer substantial improvements to the drainage systems in Accra by way of ensuring efficient floodwater conveyance to the sea.
Briefing the entourage, Mr Danie Terblanche, Project Manager of the International Marine Dredging Consultancy, one of the three companies working on the project, said the project would certainly be completed within the deadline, and that an extra 14 million dollars would be needed to cater for extra works.
He explained that the extra work, which would mainly be the re-dredging of the lagoon, had come about as result of delay in funding of the second phase of the project, which involves an interceptor, pump station and sea outfall pipeline.
The delay, he said, resulted in holding up of works between March 2002 and November 2003, giving rise to the building of silt in the canals and lagoons.
Mr Terblanche said the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah continued to dump household garbage and other waste into the Agbogbloshie canal and have also damaged part of the completed works.
On the extra cost of the project, the Finance Minister said it would be provided if the Works and Housing Ministry was able to "make a strong case as one of its priority programmes for the next financial year."
On his part, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey called for the cooperation of the residents to enable the completion of work on time. 13 Dec, 04