Home » Farmers’ Union Slams President’s Silence on Dam Project

Farmers’ Union Slams President’s Silence on Dam Project

The General Agriculture Workers Union says the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam has been neglected for years

by Victor Adetimilehin

The General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has expressed its disappointment that President Nana Akufo-Addo did not mention the status of the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Tuesday.

The dam, which is expected to provide irrigation water, drinking water, and hydroelectric power to the northern regions of Ghana, has been stalled for years after the government cut the sod to revamp it in 2020.

Mr Edward Kareweh, the General Secretary of GAWU, told Al Jazeera that the dam was a vital infrastructure for the development of the agricultural sector and the livelihoods of the people in the area.

“We expected the president to tell us what is happening with the dam, why there is no progress, and when it will be completed. But he did not say anything about it. This is very disappointing and frustrating for us,” he said.

The benefits of the dam

The Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, which is located near the Pwalugu Bridge on the White Volta River, is designed to have a maximum reservoir area of 350 square kilometers and a powerhouse with two turbines of 60 megawatts each.

According to the Volta River Authority, the dam will provide irrigation water to an estimated 25,000 hectares of farmland, supply drinking water to about 660,000 people, and generate 60 megawatts of renewable energy.

The dam will also help control the annual flooding of the White Volta River, which causes loss of lives, crops, and properties.

The dam project, which was estimated to cost $993 million, was approved by the Ghanaian cabinet in 2019 and was expected to be completed in 50 months.

However, since the sod-cutting ceremony in November 2020, there has been little or no activity on the site, raising questions about the government’s commitment and the availability of funds.

The challenges of the project

The Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam project has faced several challenges since its inception, including environmental and social concerns, legal disputes, and political interference.

Some environmental activists have raised issues about the potential impact of the dam on the biodiversity and ecosystem of the White Volta River and its surroundings.

Some affected communities have also complained about the inadequate compensation and resettlement plans for the people who will be displaced by the dam.

In addition, some opposition parties and civil society groups have challenged the legality and transparency of the contract awarded to PowerChina, a Chinese state-owned company, to construct the dam.

They have accused the government of inflating the cost of the project and violating the procurement laws of the country.

The government has denied these allegations and defended the project as a strategic investment for the development of the northern regions and the country as a whole.

The way forward for the dam

Mr Kareweh said that GAWU and other stakeholders were ready to engage with the government and the contractor to find solutions to the challenges facing the dam project.

He said that the dam was a matter of national interest and urged the government to prioritize it and allocate adequate resources for its completion.

He also called on the government to be accountable and transparent about the status and progress of the project and to involve the local communities and farmers in the planning and implementation of the dam.

“We believe that the dam has the potential to transform the agricultural sector and the economy of the northern regions. We want the government to deliver on its promise and make the dam a reality,” he said.

He expressed hope that the dam project would resume soon and be completed within the stipulated time frame.

“We are optimistic that the dam will be a game-changer for the farmers and the people of the north. We are looking forward to seeing the benefits of the dam in terms of water, power, and food security,” he said

Source: Modern Ghana 

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