John Abduali Jinapor (2nd from left) with some minority MPs addressing the media after the visit
John Abduali Jinapor (2nd from left) with some minority MPs addressing the media after the visit
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Minority urges President to construct Pwalugu Dam project

The Minority in Parliament has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to redeem his promise to construct the Pwalugu multipurpose dam in the Upper East Region.

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The Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, John Abdulai Jinapor, said it was unfortunate that after the sod was cut for the commencement of the project in 2019, nothing had been done after five years.

“As we can see, although about GH¢200 million has been paid to the contractor towards the construction, no work has been done on the project which was expected to be completed in 48 months,” he said.

Visit

Mr Jinapor, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Yapei Kusawgu Constituency in the Savannah Region, said this when he led some Minority MPs and the leadership of the NDC to the project site last Saturday.

The project, estimated at $993 million, would be the single largest investment ever made by the government in the northern part of the country to address three main issues, namely provision of water for irrigation, generation of electricity and control of the annual flooding of communities in the Upper East and North East regions.

The team interacted with the chiefs and community members and also visited the project sites, as well as the contractor’s site ostensibly to gather first-hand information on the progress of work.

Mr Jinapor explained that the visit was to observe and inspect the ongoing works concerning the construction of the dam project, which when completed, is expected to generate hydro and solar power, as well as bring thousands of hectares of land under irrigation.

Reports

He said the tour was as a result of numerous reports received which indicated that there was no work being done on the project, saying, “therefore, we are here to witness for ourselves the true state of the project”.

"As we can see, nothing is being done here despite the payment of huge sums of money to the contractor”, he said, stressing, “we find this development very unfortunate as it appeared the project was just to hoodwink the people in the run-up to the 2020 elections”.

He gave the strongest assurance that the next NDC government would prioritise the project and see to its completion since most of the feasibility studies on the project were done under the previous NDC administrations.

Parliamentary processes

He indicated that the Minority would activate all the processes to retrieve all funds paid to the contractor for no work done, adding, “we will use every legitimate means to recover all funds paid with nothing to show for it on the ground”.

The abandoned project site

The abandoned project site

He added that if it was established that the funds paid were illegally done leading to financial loss to the country, the public officials who engaged in such an act would be prosecuted.

Bawumia’s recent tour

Touching on the project during a recent tour of the Upper East Region, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, stated that the project he championed, which was expected to bring relief to residents of both the Upper East and North-East regions, had still not been done.

“I am of a firm belief that we are going to execute the project as it would put about 28,000 hectares of land under irrigation, generate electricity and end perennial flooding as a result of the opening of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso,” he said.

Background

On November 29, 2019, President Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the multipurpose dam in Pwalugu in the Talensi District in the Upper East Region. The historic ceremony was also attended by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, ministers of state, Members of Parliament and traditional rulers, including the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area in the North East Region, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo said the project, when completed, would hold large volumes of water spilled from the Bagre Dam for irrigation purposes and generate electricity as well.

 Writer’s email; [email protected].

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