The Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs of Ghana, has conceded the need to push government to show financial commitment towards the construction of the $404, 857, 414.06 Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam and Irrigation Project (PMDIP).
The dam will serve relieving needs of the citizens of northern Ghana.
Both sides in the committee hailed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the bold step taken to initiate the commencement of the project, which was on the national drawing board for about five decades.
The Committee, led by its chairman, Mr John Osei Frimpong, Member of Parliament for Abirem, reiterated the need for government to source funding for the project to come into fruition.
He described the Pwalugu project as a game changer, at Nalerigu, the North East Regional capital and said it would address relevant perennial problems of food stocks in the country, and especially make Northern Ghana the new food basket base, in Ghana’s quest to enhance all year round food production, food security and food sustainability.
He said the project which had 48 months to be executed, was behind schedule and after almost 24 months of sod-cutting to commence the Multipurpose Dam, the pace at which work was progressing was discouraging, adding that there was the need for the committee to advise government to source alternative funding to streamline work progression to meet deadlines per work schedules on the project.
Mr Frimpong said the Committee’s meeting was an extension of Parliament and was in the region to solicit information at first hand to see way forward for the construction of the multipurpose project, which he said was dear to the heart of Ghanaians.
The GNA gathered that only about $11,949, 052 was advanced to the contractor, PowerChina International Group Ltd, to execute capital plan under the project, out of estimated $55,939,719.26, thereby delaying the project from its scheduled plan.
President Nana Akufo-Addo cut the sod on November 29, 2019, to commence work on the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam and Irrigation Project (PMDIP), one of the flagship Projects of the Government of Ghana.
The Project has three major components of power generation, irrigation and flood control.
The Volta River Authority (VRA) and Ministry of Energy is responsible for the power generation and flood control while the Ministry for Food and Agriculture (MOFA) through the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) is responsible for the Irrigation component.
The irrigation component is expected to unlock the agricultural potential of the Savannah zone and to become the largest irrigation scheme in Ghana.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), Mr Wilson Kwabena Darkwah, said the project was justified and approved, with MPs as part of the approving agency, adding, it would take care of flood excesses to protect property, open bigger avenues for employment, and sustain all year round farming to discourage youth from the area from migrating down south.
Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nalerigu-Gambaga Constituency, Alhaji Baba Issifu Seidu, Commended government for bold steps taken to start the project, which he said was dream come through, and called on his colleague MPs on the Committee to get involved in matters on the PMDIP to bring it to fruition.
He proposed to government and other stakeholders on the project to mitigate the funding gap on the project, as the Overlord of Mamprugu, and the people in the area were ready for the project and would play their roles for its full executionn.
Mr Chen Junming, Commercial Manager, of PowerChina International Group Ltd, Contractor on the PMDIP, giving overview of the project, mentioned lack of cash flow per the scheduled scheme for financing the project as hindering progress of work and excessive rains and floods resulting from the opening of the Bagre Dam.
The North East Regional Minister, Mr Zakaria Yidana, said government had the political will to ensure the project was successful and urged the contractors to communicate any hampering factors including; security to the Coordinating Council for redress.
He appealed to the committee to look into getting most of the farm products processed locally by encouraging and advocating laws to cater for such interests.
The Committee earlier visited the Palace of the Nayiri, to pay homage and to formally seek his consent to officially start its assignment in the traditional area.