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27.05.2006 Business & Finance

VEEP Inspects Work On 62 Million-Dollar Oil Facilities

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Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama yesterday inspected work on the 62 million-dollar Bulk Oil Storage (BOST) facilities at Kalbeo, near Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

Government is investing 38 million dollars to lay pipes from Buipe to the depot at Kalbeo, whilst 24 million dollars would be spent in the provision of three storage tanks each with 10,000 metric tonnes capacity and other facilities.

The project scheduled for completion in September this year, would facilitate the transportation of petroleum products from Buipe in the Northern Region to the Kalbeo depot for distribution to other parts of the region, Upper West Region, Burkina Faso, Mali and other landlocked countries within the West African Sub-Region.

Vice President Aliu who interacted with the management, workers, chiefs and the people, stressed the importance of the capital-intensive project. "If I convert the 62 million dollars into cedis, I believe all the villages around the project will be filled," he said light-heartedly, attracting prolonged laughter.

The project, he said would provide employment for the people to improve on their living standards and reduce the pressure on the haulage of petroleum products by road.

Vice President Aliu also visited the Ghana Cotton Ginnery at Balungu, near Bolgatanga, where he announced plans by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to support 20,000 cotton farmers to improve on their production during the next crop season.

Mr Yesseh James Wiyor, General Manager of the ginnery said cotton production had recorded significant increase from 5,000 units in 2003 to 8,000 units in 2004 and 15,000 units in 2005.

He said during the period under review the ginnery witnessed 100 per cent cost recovery of seven billion cedis invested in 2003, eight billion cedis in 2004, whilst 12.9 billion cedis out of the 13 billion cedis invested in 2005 had so far been recovered.

Mr Wiyor cited the falling world market price of lint cotton and the rising cost of production as some of the challenges facing the ginnery.

Vice President Aliu also visited the Pwalugu Tomato factory, which is being rehabilitated under a new Company known as Northern Star Tomato Company and would commence operation in July. He asked stakeholders of the factory especially tomato farmers to exploit the water resources from the White Volta basin to facilitate an all-year production of the crop.

Mr Roy Ayariga, Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture said Government was investing more than three million dollars into the project, which would be owned by the District Assemblies, land owners and local communities through floating of shares.

He said tomato supply to the factory would come from Tono, Vea and Pwalugu irrigation facilities, adding that farmers from neighbouring Burkina Faso had also expressed interest in selling their tomato to the factory. "Government has placed a high premium on the revamping of the Pwalugu Tomato Factory because of its poverty eradication potential," he added.

Mr Ayariga appealed to the people to embark on large-scale tomato cultivation to improve their standard of living.