Tamale, March 26, GNA - The European Union (EU) is supporting Ghana with 25 million euro under the sixth micro projects programme, which is expected to take off next year.
Mr Kwaku Sarfo, Project Manager of EU who announced this in Tamale on Thursday at the opening of a two-day consultative seminar, said the fifth phase of the programme, which is scheduled to close in June this year, would be extended to June 2005 to ensure that all the projects are duly completed.
He said the programme grants to Ghana would help execute some 1,950 micro projects throughout the country to enhance the lives of the people, especially rural communities.
The seminar was aimed at soliciting ideas and opinions from prospective beneficiaries of the project, as well as other stakeholders, including District Chief Executives (DCEs), on the implementation of the sixth phase of the programme, particularly in the provision of infrastructure and other basic amenities.
Under the fifth micro projects programme, the EU has executed 1,819 community-based projects throughout the country between 1990 and 1998. Mr Sarfo called on participants to offer useful ideas during the deliberations to ensure that the programme was executed successfully to help the needy communities with projects.
Ms Helen Allotey, Chief Economic Officer at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said the micro projects programme has been a central element in EU's socio-economic cooperation with Ghana since 1990 with a focus on improving the lives of rural people through the provision of basic amenities.
She said the sixth micro projects programme would focus mainly on poverty endemic rural areas and that the mechanisms for allocating funds would be based on poverty profile, population data and other performance criteria derived from the previous programme.
Ms Allotey said the current formulation mission would deal with a detailed preparation of the sixth micro projects programme, based on the identified needs of the potential beneficiaries, as well as the experiences, achievements and lessons learnt from previous programme. Ms Ivonka Trojaanowska-Phillips, Task Manager for Post-Conflict Rehabilitation and Micro Projects of the EU in Brussels, commended Ghana for being the best in the sub-region in the area of execution of micro projects.
She said the EU would continue to provide funds when necessary to help alleviate the plight of the rural people. Mr Charles Bintin, Deputy Northern Regional Minister warned that government would not hesitate to sanction any DCE who would misapply EU funds meant for development projects and that he would personally inspect projects in the region to ensure that the right thing was done.