The Northern Development Forum (NDF) has decried the state of the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam (PMD) andndnd appealed to the government to find innovative financial arrangement to construct the project.
The NDF said the PMD held huge prospects for the five regions of the north and urged the government to redeem the promise made to the people of Northern Ghana by resuming work on the project.
Major Albert Don-Chebe (Retired), Chairman of NDF, made the appeal at a press conference in Tamale on Tuesday on matters arising regarding the construction of the PMD.
The government on November 29, 2019 cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of the PMD, which it described as “The largest investment ever made by any government in the northern part of the country.”
The project, which was to be constructed within 50 months, had been designed to resolve perennial devastating floods caused by spillage from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, provide a reliable water source for dry season agriculture, and double as a source of hydro-power coupled with a solar component.
Major Don-Chebe (Rtd) said, “It is therefore very shocking for us to hear that the PMD has been abandoned.”
He said, “Following contradictory statements from various government appointees, we travelled, last week, to the two major project sites- the Dam site at Kurugu and the irrigation development site at Sariba.”
He said, “At Kurugu, we were confronted by utter desolation and loud silence. There was only a heap of chippings to indicate that someone had intended to undertake some form of construction. We proceeded to the irrigation development site, off the Wulugu-Kpasenkpe Road.”
He added that “There, we found a well-built work camp, with comfortable dormitories, workshops and dining facilities, large enough to accommodate over 300 workers and large piles of concrete blocks. We found only one worker on site, and no equipment or machinery whatsoever. We were informed that the contractor withdrew from the site in May, 2022, following the award of a new contract to them to build an interchange in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
Major Don-Chebe (Rtd) said, “The North was promised a completed transformational project in 50 months. Unfortunately, 36 months down the line, there is very little hope regarding the continuation, let alone the completion, of the project.”
He said the PMD was the future of northern development that the north had waited over 60 years, for “The kind of transformational infrastructure that has accelerated development in other parts of Ghana such as the Akosombo and Kpong Dams in the Eastern Region, Atuabo Gas Project in the Western Region and the Bui Dam in the Bono Region.”
He noted that “All these projects were executed in times of great financial difficulties. None was abandoned because of financial stress. Innovative and creative arrangements were designed by governments of the time to ensure the completion of these iconic projects.”
He said “Today, it is the turn of this government to demonstrate innovation, enterprise, ingenuity, diligence and focus to guide the PMD to completion.”
He emphasised that “As a comparison, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam costing US$5B with a capacity of 6450 MW i.e. 107x the capacity of PMD and double the total power consumed in Ghana today, was built using resources mobilised from Ethiopians at home and abroad and was constructed largely by Ethiopian engineers, in a country which is, most probably, poorer and as debt-ridden as Ghana”.