20.04.2005 Regional News

Dam construction to be given a boost in U/W

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Wa, April 20, GNA - the Regional Coordinating Council has directed district assemblies in the Upper West Region to factor into their Medium Term Development Plans the provision of at least one dam each year in their districts for irrigation.

This would enable the region to utilize its full potential in agriculture through access to water for dry season gardening, Mr Ambrose Dery, the Regional Minister, said at Wa on Tuesday. He was speaking at this year's People's Assembly organized by the Wa Municipal Authority.

During an open forum, the Regional Minister assisted by Mr Clement Eledi and Mr Moses Dani Baah, the Deputy Ministers of Food and Agriculture and Private Sector Development and PSI respectively, answered questions that dwelt on irrigation, rural electrification, roads and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr Dery said under phase one of the IFAD funded Upper West Agricultural Development Project, 19 dams were rehabilitated in the region and expressed the hope that the project would be renewed to cater for more communities.

Mr Mohammed Yahaya Hamidu, a farmer, said that despite the government's good intentions of improving agriculture, four dams, which were awarded to an Accra-based contractor two years ago, had not been executed.

The proposed dams, he said, were located at Bilibor and Singbakpong in the Wa Municipality, Tizza in the Jirapa/Lambussie District and Jawie in the Sissala West District

The Regional Minister said the government would not allow any contractor to toy with the lives of the people and if it was found out that the contractor working on the dams did not have the capacity to execute the jobs, his contract would be terminated and a more capable and serious contractor asked to replace him.

Mr Eledi advised the people to avoid playing politics with issues concerning agriculture, saying whether one was NPP, NDC or PNC, at the end of it all they all needed food to survive. He assured farmers in the region that they would get their fair share of the 400 tractors that would soon arrive in the country from India and urged those who were interested to begin mobilizing the initial deposit of 40 million cedis.

Mr Dani Baah, who answered questions on the NHIS, expressed concern at the slow pace of the implementation of the scheme in the region and urged all the districts to get the scheme off the ground by the close of the year.

Mr Godfrey Bayon Tangu, the Member of Parliament for Wa East and acting Wa Municipal Chief Executive, said the assembly had been selected to participate in a partnership programme with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The partnership would focus on exchange programmes between municipalities in Canada and Wa and is intended to enhance local governance and capacity building.

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