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Minister directs GETFund to release funds for library projects.

Sixteen years after the Sunyani Library Complex was awarded for construction, the project has not been completed to be used for its intended purpose.
The giant edifice, which is expected to serve as a reference centre for the growing second cycle and tertiary student population in the Bono Region, stands at a strategic location of Sunyani while children struggle to cope with a small library located at a different place which can only seat 35 people at a time.

The library complex has had a checkered history since it was awarded on contract.

It has gone through the hands of various contractors but had not been completed as a result of the non-release of funds for the payment of work done at its various stages of construction.

However, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has directed the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to release funds for the completion of the project and that of the Volta Regional Library Complex.

When completed, the project will have a 600-seating library, a children’s library, a reference library, a lending library, an Information Communication Technology (ITC) Centre, conference rooms and a secretariat for the regional librarian and his staff.

Tour of libraries

The acting Executive Secretary of the Ghana Library Authority (GLA), Mr Hayford Siaw, announced this when he inspected the project as part of his tour of the various library facilities in the region.

He said the GLA had declared this year as the year of reading and was, therefore, focused on increasing the number of libraries and improving the conditions of the existing ones across the country.

Mr Siaw said his visit to the region was to meet the consultants and all stakeholders to let them know that GETFund was ready to make funds available for the completion of the library project.

He said per an assessment of the project, over GH¢ 2 million would be needed for its completion and gave an assurance that by the middle of 2020, the project would be inaugurated to enable it to play its expected role in the region.

Stocking libraries

Mr Siaw said the authority was making everything possible to ensure that the various libraries across the country were stocked with the appropriate books to encourage children, the youth and the aged to cultivate the culture of reading.

According to him, by the end of the year, the GLA would have taken delivery of about 150,000 assorted books from various sources for distribution to libraries across the country.

In addition to that, the authority had also planned to be influential in the digital space and had created an App which would be launched soon to encourage the youth to read their favourite books on the Internet in the comfort of their homes.

The GLA, he added, had also embarked on a school library transformation programme to support the various school libraries to acquire the relevant books.

For his part, the Bono Regional Consultant of the Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL), Mr Agyei Marfo, stated that the project could be completed by the new deadline, if funds were released on time to the contractor.