The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday signed a formal agreement with the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States and the Private Export Funding Corporation for a long-term credit of 93.8 million dollars for the Keta Sea Defence project.

The loan will be used to purchase US-made equipment to build a sea defence wall and other infrastructure to protect the Keta beach and lagoon from erosion.

Finance Minister Kwame Peprah signed for the Government while U.S. Ambassador in Ghana Kathryn Dee Robinson signed for the United States.

The facility comes with a five-year moratorium on interest payment and will be repayable over a 10-year period starting from September 2004.

The project is expected to bring hope and prevent what could be catastrophic impact on agriculture, fisheries, commerce and living conditions of the inhabitants of Keta and surrounding areas.

The main components of the construction works to be financed are Havedzi-Keta main access roads, offshore breakwater at Keta, groynes and headlands from Kedzi to Keta.

It also provides for beach nourishment, outfall structure at Kedzi for the lagoon flood control, land reclamation and bird habitat islands.

Actual construction work is scheduled to take off in September this year.

The agreement followed Ex-Im Bank’s approval of 1.89 million dollars in 1995 to finance feasibility and engineering study of the Keta project by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock under the Ex-Im Bank Engineering Multiplier Programme.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that assists in financing the export of US goods and services to industrialising and developing markets all over the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance.

Mr Isaac Adjei-Mensah, Minister of Works and Housing, described the agreement as a major step and an important milestone towards the implementation of actual constructional works.

He said electricity supply has been extended from Afiadenyigba to Havedzi, the starting point of the wall.

Mr Adjei-Mensah expressed satisfaction at efforts made to implement the project, saying “we have come a long way, and treaded a very difficult path to reach this stage of the Keta Sea Defence Project today”.

He commended the Presidency for its profound interest and commitment that has seen to the take-off of the project.

Mrs Robinson noted that the project is a major one, the largest civil works by the bank in West Africa in recent years.

Mr Richard Lowry, Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice-President of Great Lakes and Dredge, said they are excited by the project and are looking forward to it.

Mr Dan Abodakpi, MP for Keta, said he was happy with the signing of the agreement and looked forward to the actual start of the project.

Source : Ghanaian Times

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