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$1 billion Pwalugu multipurpose dam: All you need to know

Almost five years after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the Pwalugu multipurpose dam project in the Talensi District in the Upper East Region, work on the much-touted project, which began in November 2019, is yet to progress.

Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam

The project, which is the single largest investment ever made in the northern part of Ghana, will consist of a hydro-solar hybrid system with 60 MW hydro power and 50 MW solar power.

The $993 million project, financed solely by the government, has been on the drawing board since the early 1960s, and the sod-cutting ceremony was thus considered historic.

When completed, the multipurpose dam will address three main issues: irrigation, hydropower generation, and flood control.

The Pwalugu dam project has been on the drawing board since the early 1960s. The long planning period and bureaucratic hurdles have contributed to the delays.

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The sod-cutting ceremony in November 2019 was seen as a historic moment, but the subsequent lack of progress has been disappointing.

The project is expected to be completed in about four years and two months and will be executed by Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company.

The construction has become imperative due to the annual floods and deaths that occur in the areas within the flow-way of the Bagre Dam from upstream Burkina Faso.

Why the project delayed

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The contractor, Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company, has reportedly abandoned the three project sites.

This has caused frustration among local chiefs and residents, who have called on the government to address the issues holding back the project.

Pwalugu dam project facing financial challenges – Bawumia in 2022

One of the primary reasons for the delay is financial challenges. Despite the government's commitment to funding the project, securing the necessary funds has proven difficult. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), acknowledged that financial constraints have been a significant hurdle.

Speaking at the launch of the Northern Development Authority's five-year strategic plan in Tamale, Dr. Bawumia said the government will look for funds to construct the dam.

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He stated, "Even though the project is facing financial challenges, we are determined to find the resources to complete the construction of the dam."

Bank of Ghana authorises payment of US$11.9m for Pwalugu dam

The Bank of Ghana has clarified that payments to the contractors were authorized by the government through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

However, questions have arisen about the disbursement of funds, especially since little to no work has been done on the project sites.

The Director of Communications at the Central Bank, Bernard Otabil, explained that the Central Bank only makes payments sanctioned by the government.

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"Authorisation was given from the Controller and Accountant General's Department for payment to be made, and the payment was made," he said.

Pwalugu multipurpose dam dear to my heart – Bawumia in 2024

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia revealed that the Pwalugu Dam is dear to his heart, indicating that he is committed to getting it done.

During his visit to the Upper East Region as part of his interaction with religious leaders and other stakeholders, he reiterated the significance of the project as it fits into his agenda of prioritizing agriculture under his administration.

"I have no doubt that I am championing the Pwalugu multipurpose dam, and by the grace of God, we will do it," he disclosed. The project, which feeds into his agenda for agriculture, is a major priority.

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