$480m MCA Takes Off In August

President MahamaThe second Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact for Ghana which is expected to provide over 480 million dollars to support the energy sector is to be Figned in August this year, the President, John Dramani Mahama has said.

According to him, negotiations between Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States were being concluded to pave the way for the signing of the compact which had been dedicated to boost the energy sector.

President Mahama, who said this when he received the report on the implementation of the first MCA compact, at the Flagstaff House in Accra on Friday, said it was important that Ghana prepared adequately to ensure a successful implementation of the second compact, to follow the success of the initial one.

He was optimistic that with the support from the second compact, which was expected to provide over 450million dollars to Ghana, “We will see major changes in the energy sector,” adding that, he was confident Ghana would regain its status as a net exporter of power with the boost from the MCA programme.

“After successful negotiations, we will be able to sign the compact in August when we go for the US-Africa Leaders Summit in the US during which the signing will be one of the high points,” he said.

The report, which was presented by Professor Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, Chairman of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), the implementing agency, provides a comprehensive overview of the implementation of the first 547million-dollar compact which focused on pursuing poverty reduction programmes such as agriculture development, transportation, land management and rural development.

Based on the successful implementation of the first five-year MCA programme, which began in 2006, Ghana qualified for a second compact, which has been devoted solely to revamp the energy sector that was identified by the government as the critical sector to push Ghana’s economic drive.

President Mahama commended the management of MiDA for the efficient and effective execution of the previous programme, and expressed confidence that it would deliver when allowed to manage the second one.

“You have not disappointed the nation. The compact was implemented very efficiently, and enabled us to use the resources for the intended purpose. “That is a big achievement,” he stressed.

President Mahama noted that because MiDA had already established the relevant structures, it would be proper to allow it to continue to implement the second compact.

However, he reminded the management of MiDA of the need to do some restructuring of the authority to enable it to correspond to the objectives of the new compact.

Presenting the report, Prof. Sefa-Dedeh explained that with a key focus on agriculture, transport infrastructure and rural development, the compact represented a refreshingly new strategy for the transformation of agriculture as practiced across Ghana.

It targeted sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction among the majority of rural dwellers who rely on agriculture for their livelihood, he noted, adding that to realise the programme objectives, the compact involved 12 vital project activities designed to work in an integrated and systematic manner to remove risks and impediments in the agribusiness value chain that constrain the efforts of many local farmers.

“This report, therefore, presents the results of the first country-designed and owned MCA Compact Programme. It showcases the necessity for building and effectively using large professional project management skills and capacities, which was contained within MiDA, in order to meet specific timelines”.

He said the compact indeed, provided opportunities for trying out and testing a large variety of concepts which could serve as a veritable blueprint for the transformation of Ghana’s agricultural sector.

“The many lessons learnt and recommendations provided in this report, add a significant body of knowledge to other existing policies and ideas available to Ministry of Food and Agriculture and farmer groups, which aim at enhancing the effective delivery of Ghana’s agricultural produce,” he said

“The report also draws attention to the significance of effective work planning, efficient and transparent procurement processes, team-effort and commitment that upheld the integrity of the pro-poor programme. Additionally, it demonstrates the importance of the rigid application of fiscal, social and environmental accountability interventions in the delivery of the innovative agricultural development model.

“It is the expectation of MiDA, the MCC and the general public, that the ministries, departments and agencies to whom the Projects and Compact Assets have been entrusted, will manage and safeguard them in order to prolong their usefulness and thereby ensure their long-term sustainability since it is for this reason that we worked closely with them throughout the five-year Programme,” he said.

Among other recommendations, the report urged the government to “provide post-compact resources to be used in anchoring the achievements of the compact and ensuring the sustainability of the projects handed over”.

Dr. Mustapha Arhmed, Minister of State in charge of Development Authorities, assured the management of government support in preparing for the implementation of the second compact for the benefit of the nation.

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