Regional News of Saturday, 23 February 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
The government has distributed solar lanterns to 157 households in rural communities in the Dangme East District in the Greater Accra Region that are not connected to the national grid.
The distribution, which took place at Alorkpem, an island community near Ada, on Thursday was in fulfilment of the government’s promise to distribute solar lamps to off-grid rural communities to replace kerosene lanterns.
The initiative, which is expected to be extended to 16 other communities in the region under phase one of the project, is meant to mitigate any effect of the removal of petroleum subsidies on the rural poor.
More than 1,000 rural communities are expected to benefit from the initial 20,000 solar lanterns to be distributed between January 2013 and June 2014 at a cost of GH¢2 million.
The three-phase project will also see the establishment of a local assembling plant to assemble some 50,000 solar lamps for distribution through a grant of 50 per cent subsidy across communities that are not likely to be connected to the national grid.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Kofi Armah Buah, said the rationale for the distribution of the solar lanterns was to ensure that the people for whom the government was subsidising fuel benefited from it.
He said it was detected that although the government had been subsidising kerosene in the past years, the intended beneficiaries were short-changed by dealers and middlemen.
Mr Buah expressed the hope that the project, which was one of the government’s social interventions, would accelerate the development of rural communities, while helping eliminate the impact of smoke-related diseases on the health of women and children who were at the centre of rural activities in remote communities nationwide.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ada and Minister of State at the Presidency, Ms Comfort Doyoe Ghansah, lauded the government for the project, saying, “The project will bring total relief to the beneficiary communities.”
The District Chief Executive for Ada, Mr Rex Daniel Wussah, earlier in his welcoming address, appealed for the acceleration of the process to extend electricity to the communities under the government’s renewable energy component project began some three years ago to the remaining islands along the lower Volta basin.