Ghana has qualified for a second Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) programme roll out which is expected to focus largely on energy.
Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) told the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday.
He said the country’s democratic credentials, good governance, respect for rule of law; control of corruption, support and investment in the citizenry as well as the completion of the first phase of the MCA compact had inspired confidence in the donor to consider the country for a second compact.
Mr Eson-Benjamin was speaking to the GNA at the end of the maiden 2012 “Meet the Press” Series, organised by the Ministry of Information to present report on how the $547,009,000 United States Government-sponsored five-year MCA compact programme had been rolled out, eight days prior to the deadline.
He said MiDA, the implementing and accountable entity for the Ghana Millennium Compact programme, would focus on how to develop the potential of varieties of energy sources to make the country self-sufficient in power generation.
Mr Eson-Benjamin, who fell short of disclosing when the second compact would be rolled out and the amount to be disbursed as well as its nature, however, said plans were far advanced for implementation of the programme.
He expressed confidence that the Authority had acquired a large body of knowledge, relevant project management experience and managerial capacity to undertake further development projects in the country.
Speaking on the socio-economic impact of the MCA, Mr Eson-Benjamin said it had uplifted the lives of the less privileged, mainly farmers, who had taken up the responsibility of feeding the nation, but who lived under deplorable circumstances such as with little or no access to clean water and sanitation facilities, roads, schools, clinics and organised markets for their crops.
The MCA is a pro-poor performance-based and results-driven programme, which started on February 15, 2007 with the aim of reducing poverty through economic growth in Ghana.
The objective was to increase production and productivity of high-value cash and food staple crops and to enhance the competitiveness of Ghana’s high-value cash and food crops both local and international markets.
Ghana signed the compact on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a representative of the US Government, and it would end on February 16, 2012.
The programme was implemented under three key activities that included agriculture, transportation and rural development projects.
Addressing the media, Mr Eson-Benjamin disclosed that 208.8 million dollars, representing 38.8 per cent of the total budget, was allocated for agriculture project with the aim of enhancing the profitability of staple foods like rice, maize, yam and high value horticulture crops as well as improving delivery of business and technical services to support the expansion of commercial agriculture and farm-based organisations.
Under transportation project, he said three key activities were funded with an amount of 218.37 million dollars, representing 40 per cent of the total budget.
It aimed at reducing the transportation costs affecting agricultural commerce at the sub-regional and regional levels in the country and to support agricultural projects and transportation models which targeted road and maritime sectors.
Mr Eson-Benjamin said 77.72 million dollars; representing 14 per cent of the total budget, was allocated to the Rural Services Development Projects.
The projects were designed to address existing gaps in the sector and to strengthen rural institutions that provided complementary services to communities in beneficiary districts.
Mr Eson-Benjamin admitted that there were pockets of uncompleted projects but expressed confidence in the Government’s ability to fund their completion.
He expressed appreciation to the US Government, the Government of Ghana and other stakeholders including the media, for their support.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information, announced Government’s strong view of the attitude of some compensated traders, who had returned to ply their trade on the constructed roads and those still under construction.
“Government takes a strong view of those returning. I mean you cannot eat your cake and have it,” he said stressing that those compensated would not be allowed to come back to stall progress made on the roads. GNA