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General News
Bui Dam Project Modified 2/19/2007

The Bui Hydro Electric Dam project has been redesigned into a dam and a city complex, taking on board the fears of environmentalists that the dam’s construction could endanger the ecology of Bui.

Modification of the project into a “Bui Dam and City” means the Bui area will be upgraded into an industrial city for agro-business, acqua-culture and tourism.

The dam will be the nucleus of industrial activities and tourism. Infrastructure will be provided to make the private sector move in to add value to the resources of the area, such as fish processing, cassava and general food processing.

Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, made this known to the Daily Graphic shortly after his return to Accra as the head of an 11-member government delegation to China.

He also brought the good news of a partial deal for the construction of the Bui Dam and City.

The team signed the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement, which paves way for the purchases of materials, as well as the actual construction of the project.

One of the major setbacks affecting the construction of the Bui Dam has been the agitation of environmentalists and other concerns that the fauna and sauna at the Bui ecological site will be destroyed.

The Bui area in the Brong Ahafo Region is known for the habitation of the endangered black hippopotamus.

The Bui Hydro Electric project was identified in the 1960s soon after the start of the Akosombo Dam but preliminary works on the construction of residential sites for engineers and workers was abandoned with the overthrow of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana''s first President.

When completed, the dam, to be constructed on the Black Volta at the Bui gorge, can supply about 400 megawatts of electricity.

Baah-Wiredu said part of the loan would go into site plans and landscaping and infrastructure, such as irrigation facilities and other activities necessary for such an industry.

He said the vegetation and landscape of the place would be intact, with a towering pinnacle built at the centre of the city where tourists could climb to capture a view of the entire Bui area.

Concerning the loan itself, he said the government and the Chinese authorities were to decide on Ghana’s matching portion of the loan.

While the Chinese had proposed the concessionary and commercial component of the loan to be 85 per cent, with a matching fund of 15 per cent from Ghana, the delegation went to the table with a 10 per cent matching fund, with the rest coming from the Chinese.

“Also to be agreed on are the commitment fees, the commercial returns rate (interest rate), as well as the repayment period. We are pushing for a deal which will help all of us and so we need to do things carefully,” he said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said two other agreements, Power Purchases and Cocoa Sales, which were part of the general terms of the $600 million Chinese loan for the construction of the dam, would also have to be concluded in the next few months.

Again, China would want to trade in part of the loan for 30,000 tonnes of cocoa beans and the minister said it had been explained to the Chinese that the Cocoa Sales Agreement could only be based on the world market price.

Asked to give the time when actual works would start, the Finance Minister stated that “if all our plans and schedules move smoothly, I believe work should start on the city and dam by July this year”.

He said the Sino Hydro Corporation, which would be at the head of the construction, would be in the country in the first week of March to conclude certain arrangements and agreements with the Energy Ministry.

Sino is the largest hydro-electrical engineering company in China which is responsible for the construction of about 60 per cent of that country’s hydro power generation facilities.

Story by Samuel Doe Ablordepey

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