The People's National Convention (PNC) has added its voice to the call on government to review the criteria for selecting beneficiary districts for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
MCA is a bilateral development fund announced by the United States government in 2002 and created in January 2004 to permanently increase U.S. foreign aid funding by 5 billion dollars in 2005.
The MCA will benefit about 26 selected districts in Ghana based on two main criteria of socio-economic needs and growth potential in agriculture. The districts do not include any from the Upper East and Upper West regions. The NDC recently also spoke against the mode of selection and called on the government to include the two regions.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Monday, the leader of the PNC, Dr. Edward Mahama, expressed disappointment at the exclusion of the two Upper regions from benefiting from the fund.
He said that districts in the two regions qualified for the MCA fund based on the criteria used by government in selecting the 23 beneficiary districts.
The criteria include poverty profile, agricultural potential, private sector investment and availability of water and according to Dr.Mahama, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) ranks these two regions the most poverty endemic regions in the country.
“We are absolutely stunned by this omission on the part of government as reflected in the non-equitable manner this poverty reductive MCA is to be applied,” he said, adding that the non-inclusion of districts from these regions had generated a lot of concerns about the real motive of government with regards to beneficiary districts.
Dr. Mahama noted that the districts in these two regions have huge agricultural potentials that could not have missed the attention of the drafters of the MCA programme.
“We call on the government to take steps to include districts from the two most poverty endemic regions to reflect the letter and spirit of the governments own GPRS paper,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Kofi Amponsah Bediako, Government Spokesman on Social Services, said the account would initially benefit the 23 communities and later be extended to other regions.
He said the non-inclusion of some districts was not a deliberate attempt by the government to sideline any district and called for support for the successful implementation of the account.
The beneficiary districts are Savelugu Nanton, Tolon Kumbungu, Tamale, West Mamprusi, Karaga, Ejura Sekyedumasi, Kwahu South, Fanteakwa and Afram Plains.
Others are Sekyere East and West, Gomoa East, Awutu Efutu Senya, Akwapim South, Manya Krobo and Dangme West.
The rest are Yilo Krobo, North Dayi, Hohoe, Ketu, Keta, South Tongu and Akatsi.