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General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: gye nyame concord

Ministry goes private

*To source funds for Affordable Housing Project

The Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has indicated his Ministry’s preparedness to source private funds to complete the Government’s Affordable Housing Project across the country.

The Minister, who is the sitting NPP Member of Parliament for Salaga constituency, in the Northern region, gave the indication to look for alternative funds to complete the project on time when he interacted with contractors working on the Borteman, Kpone Kumasi Asokore-Mampong projects in Accra on Monday.

The group also included those working on the Tamale, Koforidua and Wa projects as well.

He explained that the initial seed money of GH40000 (400 billion cedis) came from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) relief fund for infrastructural development.

He added that delays in the payment of contractors working on the projects has come about as a result of government’s decision to divert the HIPC relief fund to service the increasing crude oil price and not long ago the energy crisis that hit the nation.

He debunked speculation in the media that he had singlehandedly refused to pay the contractors working on the projects across the country.

“Why will I sabotage my own government when I want my government to be in power for the next 50years to come”, he questioned.

He gave the assurance that President John Agyekum Kufuor has given him the mandate to source private funds for the smooth completion of the project to alleviate the plight of Ghanaian workers who have to raise huge sum of money as rent to some unscrupulous landlords in the country.

Allaying the fears of the contractors gathered, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has provided an amount of GH25000 (25 billion) for the payment of contractors who have their certificate to the sector ministry.

Against the background of meagre funds for the projects, he said the ministry has strived to break new grounds by acquiring lands at Wa in the Upper West region for further construction.

He said the ministry will not relent in quest to get the project completed in time for onward distribution to workers who have duly applied for allocation.

Speaking on behalf of the Contractors, Mr. Allotey Kofi, the Borteyman and Kpone site manager appealed to the Minister to impress upon the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to waive the five percent withholding tax on the contractors to make life bearable for the Contractors working on the project.

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