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27.11.2008 General News

Ghana; France Signs Loan Agreement On NREG

By ISD (Tony Goodman and Lawrencia Ziwu)

The government of Ghana and its France counterpart yesterday signed a five million euro loan agreement which aimed at financing the Natural Resources on Environmental Governance (NREG) Programme.

The NREG is a multi-donor sector budget support programme which seeks to support Ghana reform effort in three key sectors, such as Forestry and Wildlife, Mining, as well as Environmental Protection. 'Interventions within these sectors are expected to enhance sustainable growth and development through the protection of the country's capital', the Minister of State for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Anthony Akoto-Osei, disclosed.

The Minster who was speaking after signing the agreement in Accra, noted that the programme will support efforts to address the emerging oil sector issues and to adopt enhanced Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITL++) principles, including resource access, allocation, utilisation and revenues in extractive industries.

On Forestry and Wildlife, he said it will ensure law enforcement and also predict and sustain Forestry Sector financing, adding that the programme will support a comprehensive reformĀ  for improve mining sector governance. 'It will also address social issues in mining communities and improve mining sector revenue collection, management, and transparency amongst others', he stressed.

About Environmental Protection, Hon Akoto-Osei pointed out that this component will apply Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to inform decision-making and mainstreaming environmental issue, improve cross-sectoral environmental management including the development and implementation of an inter-sectoral climate change strategy.

He expressed Ghana's gratitude to the French Government for the support towards Ghana's development.

The French Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Francis Hutut observed that the programme was put in place to protect Ghana's potential for economic growth and improve the livelihoods of its population of its population by preventing and the degradation of its natural capital in these three key sectors.

According to him the programme focuses on addressing the governance challenges of these sectors by strengthening their institutional and legal framework.

These he said will help to ensure a better law enforcement to improve the financing of the agencies involved, to integrate environmental protection into policy formulation and implementation including climate change and increase the economic benefits derived from the use of the resources for Ghana and for the populations.

The NREG has an implementation period of 5years from 2008 to 20012 with a repayment period of 20years.