Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko has stressed his outfit’s commitment to improving livelihoods in communities affected by the construction of the Akosombo Dam on the Volta River.
He explains that his ministry will work to generate funds to address critical issues confronting residents in such communities.
Mr. Agyarko believes addressing the funding needs is critical to sustaining the livelihoods of such affected persons.
“I wish to lay emphasis on the sordid plight of the resettlement townships because for about 30 years, these communities have suffered from environmental degradation, poor drainage and road networks and difficulties arising from low income levels. It is reported that initially, these townships did not even have electricity supply, the very commodity for which the people lost their entire livelihood,” he stressed.
Mr. Agyarko added, “The Trust Fund, has achieved a modest success, however, it has faced numerous challenges over the years, primarily, because the grant from the Volta River Authority (VRA) has not been regulator in the past few years. In fact, I am informed that a part of the grant expected in 2015 and the grants expected in 2016 and 2017 are still outstanding.”
The Volta Resettlement Fund, established over twenty years ago (1996), is mandated to seek to the welfare needs of the 52 communities affected by the Volta Lake project.
The creation of the Volta Lake among others, led to the flooding of about 730 villages with a total population of about 80,000 people.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors for the Fund, the Chairperson, His Worship Rtd. Emmanuel Nana Antwi-Barima also expressed his outfit’s resolve to improve the livelihoods of all affected persons.
“If the state has so soon forgotten that the people whose land has been swallowed or cannibalized by the water before we are getting fish, water and electricity are being relegated to the background, then this is an awakening call. First to the Minister and his Deputies, then we the Board members,” he noted.
He added, “But the only problem is that when we come, there wouldn’t be the usual syndrome, no money antics…But automatically, money will be used for certain things we want to give to the people i.e. education, water, electricity, among others.”
The Board is Chaired by His Worship Rtd. Emmanuel Nana Antwi-Barima with members including; Hon. Matthew Nyindam, Ms Beatrice Owusu, Hon. Salifu Braimah.
Others are; Hon. Joycelyn Tetteh, Hon. Helen Adzoa Ntoso and Mr. Winfred N. Amanu.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana