The Ministry of Energy has questioned the basis on which the Minority in Parliament claims that the cost quoted for the construction of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam had been inflated.
The 60MW facility is expected to cost US$366 million. Together with the irrigation component of the dam, the entire project is estimated to cost close to a billion dollars.
This caused the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu to lament the cost of the electrical generation components for the proposed dam, saying it was too expensive and must be renegotiated.
But speaking on Eyewitness News, the Head of Communications at the Energy Ministry, Nana Oppong Damoah, accused Mr. Iddrisu of making claims without any particular foundation.
“If we are to desegregate it and have a discussion as to whether it is inflated or otherwise, you must do that with a reference point. And in this particular case, he [Haruna Iddrisu] is just quoting figures without giving us a reference point. So, for example, I would have been happy if he had said that Cote D’Ivoire or country X has done a similar thing at this price and then we can look at the comparatives that he’s drawing. But rather to make just general argument creates a very confusing space within which you are putting the Ghanaian populace,” he argued.
Mr. Damoah further justified the amount budgeted for the Pwalugu dam project. According to him, it is indeed value for money.
“The Pwalugu dam is supposed to add a lot to our national grid in terms of power procurement so if you ask me what the value for money is, clearly it is that we are trying to add additional options to our power infrastructure in this country at a lesser cost that will help us to ensure that we are able to progressively reduce the cost of electricity in this country. Remember that this dam is a multi-purpose dam that has other components integrated. So we believe that the building of this dam at the price quoted is the best that can be done for Ghana,” Mr. Damoah added.
Minority in disagreement with cost
The Minority in Parliament had earlier questioned the source of funding for the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam project.
This followed the sod-cutting ceremony of the project by President Akufo-Addo in November last year.
The President, at the ceremony, stated that the cost will be borne entirely by Government and executed and constructed under an engineering, procurement and construction contract by Sinohydro.
But the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the project was not captured in the 2020 budget and demanded the source of funding for the project.
“I see no paragraph nor page nor sentence [in the 2020 budget] dedicated to the pursuit of this $993 million. The public financial management Act requires that all expenditures are approved thereof as part of the budget statement.”
The Pwalugu Dam Project
The Pwalugu Dam, according to the President is expected to “avert the perennial flooding caused by the spillage of the Bagre Dam”.
It will consist of three main components; a hydropower plant; a solar farm; and an irrigation scheme covering an area of some twenty-five thousand (25,000) hectares.
The project is set to be the single, largest investment ever made by any Government in the Northern sector of the country.
The project will commence in April 2020 according to the Volta River Authority (VRA).
The entire project will be executed by a Chinese construction firm, Power China International and supervised by the VRA over a period of five years.
The irrigation component of the project will cost US$474,042,141.85.
The tax component of the project is US$69,284,727.79 and there is also a cadastral survey cost of US$800,000.00.
The electricity component of the project will consist of US$366 million, 60MW hydropower and a US$55.4 million, 50MW solar power while resettlement, survey and project management cost will amount to US$98 million.