The Overlord of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional State, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has praised the newly appointed Minister for Works and Housing, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, for his diligent efforts to address Ghana’s housing challenges.

The commendation came during a courtesy call on the Overlord at the Ofori Panin Fie on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

The Minister, who recently assumed office, has already initiated several key projects aimed at alleviating Ghana’s 1.8 million housing unit shortfall. This proactive approach and dedication to address the country’s housing deficit have not gone unnoticed, especially by the Okyehene, who highlighted the Minister’s exemplary work ethic and commitment to public service.

“The Minister has shown exceptional dedication in his short time at the Ministry of Works and Housing. His track record as the former Minister of Information was impressive, and he has brought the same level of diligence and innovation to his current role. We are confident that with his leadership, we will see significant progress in addressing our housing needs,” the Okyehene remarked.

The Minister was in the company of Deputy Minister, Dr. Prince Hamid Armah, Chief Director, Rev. Stephen Yaw Osei and other Directors of the Ministry.

The Okyehene also used the opportunity to highlight pressing local concerns, particularly the need for infrastructural improvements ahead of the impending rainy season. He urged the Minister to prioritize the dredging of waterways within Kyebi and its environs to prevent flooding.

“We need immediate action to dredge the waterways. This is critical as the rainy season approaches, and it will help prevent the kind of flooding we experienced two years ago,” he advised.

He further encouraged the Minister to support local contractors, particularly in the construction of drains and affordable housing projects. He said by engaging local contractors, we can boost the local economy and ensure that the benefits of these projects are felt within our communities.

The Minister in return thanked the Okyehene and reiterated government’s commitment to expediting construction works within Kyebi.

Inspection of Ongoing Projects

Minister Oppong Nkrumah used the opportunity to inspect several key construction projects in the Abuakwa North Municipality. His first stop was the newly completed bridge over the Birim River, a vital infrastructure project designed to mitigate the risk of flooding with Kyebi and its environs. The Birim River had previously overflown its banks, causing significant disruption and displacement within the town.

During the inspection, the Minister reiterated the importance of maintaining the river to prevent future floods. He directed the Hydro Authority to urgently dredge and remove silt from the Birim River to ensure the smooth passage of water.

Minister Oppong Nkrumah also visited the site of the ongoing construction of a Modern Community Market Center and the Fire Service Training School, both nearing completion. These projects are expected to enhance local commerce and improve emergency response capabilities in the region.

The Minister was impressed with the progress of work but emphasized the need for timely completion.

“I have instructed the contractors to work diligently to meet the project deadlines. These facilities are crucial for the development of our community and must be completed on schedule,” he said.

Health and Safety Concerns

A significant portion of the Minister’s visit was dedicated to addressing health and safety standards on construction sites. He expressed concern over the observed neglect of safety protocols and emphasized the importance of protecting workers.

“The Works Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry has noted a worrying trend of disregard for safety gear among workers. It is imperative that contractors ensure all workers are equipped with appropriate safety gear to prevent onsite injuries or fatalities,” Oppong Nkrumah stated.

This, he stressed that maintaining high safety standards is not only a legal obligation but also a moral duty to protect the lives and well-being of workers.

“The health and safety of our workers should be our top priority. I urge all contractors to adhere strictly to safety regulations,” he added.

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