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21.11.2005 General News

Ghana to pay only $12m of $120m water contract sum

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Accra, Nov. 21, GNA - Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, on Monday said Ghana would pay only 12 million dollars of the 120 million dollars Water Management Contract with the rest of the funding coming from donors.

He explained that the new management team, which is a joint venture between two companies from South Africa and the Netherlands, would not take over the ownership of Ghana Water Company Limited from Ghanaians, but would only be given the mandate to operate it for a fee.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang, who was speaking when the Italian Ambassador, Fabrizio De Agostini paid him a visit at his office, said the management team would take over Ghana's urban water supply in January 2006.

The Minister said under the management contract, apart from the provision of performance security of three million dollars, the operator would incur a penalty in the form of reduction in its base fee if it performed below defined service standards.

"We also have the right to cancel the agreement if the operator did not meet the standards," he said.

He said but for the contract, the Government would have had to find 500 million dollars to invest in urban water delivery by end of next year and more than 80 million dollars on rural water delivery and urged the public to accept the new system, which would give them the derived benefits.

Mr Owusu-Agyemang recalled the long-standing relationship between Italy and Ghana and appealed to the Italian government to assist Ghana in restoring some of its public buildings to maintain the history of the country.

"We will also appeal to you to engage Italian companies to assist in the production of affordable houses for workers," he told Mr Agostini.

The Ambassador, who is barely five months old in Ghana, pledged his country's willingness to promote tourism among African nations. He called for co-operation from African countries to curb illegal immigration and human trafficking to EU countries.

Mr Agostini commended the Ghanaian community in Italy for its co-operation, sense of responsibility and commitment to abide by the laws of that country.

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