General News Mon, 22 Oct 2001

HIPC Saves Ghana From Debt-servicing

THE Energy Minister, Mr Kan Dapaah, has submitted that but for the NPP government’s adoption of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, the government would have committed ?7 trillion out of its targeted revenue of ?13 trillion to service foreign debts.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said this when he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of 24 communities in the Torgodo area, near Dzodze in the Ketu District of the Volta Region, at the weekend to mark the beginning of work on an electrification project under the Self-Help Electrification Programme (SHEP-3) for the area.

The minister, who is also a member of the national economic management team, said although the NPP government has been seriously criticised for adopting the HIPC initiative, it would have been a mistake on its part if it had failed to do so, stressing, “the gains would be prudently utilised for the upliftment of the poor”.

Mr Kan-Dapaah also defended the increase in petroleum products immediately the NPP came to power, saying that “out of $550 million used in the procurement of petroleum products for the nation, 70 per cent was consumed by private cars, to the detriment of the majority of the public”.

He, therefore, argued that if more than 50 per cent of petroleum products was consumed by the rich, it would be unfair for the government to continue subsidising fuel at the expense of the poor.

On National electrification, Mr Kan-Dapaah commended the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the “ tremendous achievement” in that sector, adding that, “we must speak the truth, they have done very well”.

He promised that the NPP Government will build on what has been achieved so far to ensure that electricity is used productively to create employment and generate wealth to improve upon the standard of living and the overall socio-economic development of the country.

The minister disclosed that 650 rural communities, including Kave, Awlikope and Kpelikope in the Torgodo area, will be connected to the national electricity grid under the phase three of SHEP-3 by December, this year.

“You should be planning towards using the electricity productively to create employment and generate wealth to bring about the desired improvement in the standard of living and overall socio-economic development of our country,” Mr Kan-Dapaah stated.

In his address, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboah, said the Emergency Social Relief Programmes (ESRP) is primarily designed to help rural dwellers to overcome widespread poverty.

He said rural dwellers are also entitled to benefit from social services which exist in the urban areas, adding that “the interests and needs of all shades of people will be addressed by government irrespective of where they live or by the voting pattern in the last elections”.

Mr Owusu-Yeboah said the President would not discriminate against any part of the country and advised the people to put the results of the last elections behind them and seek to unite with a common purpose for the development of the nation.

For his part, the Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, a son of Torgodo, told the people that the government will honour its electoral promises.
Source: Graphic