Lawra — Government will clear 80 per cent of debt owed contractors in the country by the end of November, 2019.
The remaining 20 per cent who are very big companies would receive 40 per cent of the payment by the same period whilst the 60 per cent balance would be paid to them later.
This was announced by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia when he joined the chiefs and people of the Lawra Traditional Area to mark this year's Kobine Festival on Saturday
Supported by telecommunication network, MTN, this year's festival focused on the theme, "Protecting our environment, key to ensuring our future food security," aimed at celebrating gallant farmers whose contribution to food production in the country could not be overemphasised.
Dr Bawumia said the payment plan mapped out to redeem debts owed contractors was as a result of good and competent economic management under the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government.
"I am glad to report that by the end of November, 80 per cent of all contractors owed by government will receive full payment, 20 per cent of very big contractors will initially receive 40 per cent, the rest will be paid later," he elaborated.
The Vice President also announced that the President would cut sod for the commencement of the construction of the Pwalugu Dam, describing it as the biggest investment any government had ever made in the Northern part of the country since independence.
The $750 million project, the Vice President noted was geared towards engaging agriculture by controlling flooding, double Ghana's irrigable land and also resourceful for the production of electricity.
Speaking on agriculture, Dr Bawumia said government has made huge investments to modernise agriculture, achieve food security and make agriculture attractive and profitable through the planting for food and jobs programme.
He indicated that beneficiaries in the Lawra Municipality increased from 5,024 in 2018 to 5,744 in 2019, adding that 14 extension officers were posted to the municipality and provided with motorcycles to ensure effective operation.
Dr Bawumia however said that the successes of these beautiful efforts by government and stakeholders could be marred by environmentally unfriendly acts by Ghanaians that pose threat to the environment and urged them to halt such practices.
He said under the infrastructure for poverty eradication programme, of which one million dollars has been set aside for each constituency across the country, water closets with mechanised boreholes will be constructed for some communities as well as the municipal hospital and a clinic would be constructed for the Brifo community.
For his part, the Paramount Chief of Lawra, Naa Puowele Karbo III, stressed on the need to sensitise communities on climate change and its impact on agriculture, adding that was more urgent in view of the massive investment on cashew and some commercial tree crops cultivation as part of government's poverty reduction strategy.
He therefore proposed the establishment of Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Platforms in all districts across the country with adequate budgetary and logistical support, adding that capacity building targeting the various actors, especially the staff of Ministry of Food and Agriculture should be given adequate investment attention.
Naa Karbo suggested that the Babile Agricultural Research station, one of the oldest in the country with adequate land and other facilities should be adopted as the Agricultural Campus of the future autonomous University for Development Studies to provide specialised training to all local actors in the agricultural value chain on climate smart agricultural practices.
He used the opportunity to appeal to stakeholders to buy shares in the Lawra Area Rural Bank in order to enable it to garner funds to meet the Bank of Ghana's regulatory minimum requirement of one million Ghana cedis by February, 2020 to prevent it from folding up.
"The Lawra Traditional Council will take the lead and buy GH¢20,000 of the shares so that the bank will survive and continue to provide financial support to our farmers, traders, artisans, among others ", he added.