Ghana on Tuesday contracted a Buyer Credit facility of 292 million dollars from the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of China to finance the Bui Hydro-Electric Power Project.

The amount constitutes the first portion of a hybrid credit facility of 622 million dollars required for the project and other ancillary facilities.

Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, presided over the signing ceremony at the Osu Castle, where Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, appended his signature for Ghana, whilst Mr Li Ruoge, Chairman and President of EXIM Bank signed for China.

The second portion of the financing package, which is a concessionary loan of 270 million dollars, is to be extended to Ghana by the Government of China through the EXIM Bank.

Ghana would contribute the remaining 60 million dollars for the project, which would provide 400-megawatt of hydro- electric power to the national grid.

The project, which is the third hydro-electric project after Akosombo and Kpong, is one of the measures of government for the solution of the perennial energy problem, which leads to load shedding.

President John Agyekum Kufuor performed the sod cutting at the project site located close to the Bui National Park in the Brong Ahafo Region last month and is programmed for completion in early 2012.

It is part of the overall strategy to triple the country’s energy supply capacity from the current 2,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts by 2015.

Vice President Mahama said the Government had made arrangements to provide 10 million dollars to Sino Hydro Corporation, the Chinese contractors, to finance works on site preparation works and other ancillary expenses.

“It is gratifying to note that the credit facility of 562 million dollars represents one of the biggest credit facilities ever obtained from a single source in the history of Ghana.

“It is our (Government of Ghana) fervent hope that the Ministry of Commerce and State Council of the People’s Republic of China will expedite the approval processes,” he said.

Dr. Osei said EXIM Bank was in the process of opening a branch in Accra, to cater for West and Central Africa.

He noted that China was currently one of the largest and most active development partners of Ghana.

Mr Li said 50 years of relations between Ghana and China had reached a new level of friendship and said the Bui project was symbolic of the friendship.

Source: GNA