16.05.2005 General News

Minister threatened to sanction assemblies

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Koforidua, May 16, GNA - The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, had threatened to sanction any district in the region that delayed in the utilization of funds for projects under the European Union/Ghana Government Sixth Micro-projects Programme (MPP) in their districts.

He pointed out that the region could not afford to lose such opportunities and urged District Chief Executives to be personally involved in the implementation of the projects so that their communities would derive maximum benefit from them.

Mr Barimah was speaking at the inauguration of all the 17 Districts in the Eastern Region into the Sixth European Union/Ghana Government Micro-project Programme in Koforidua on Monday. The Programme, which comprises community-based projects would impact significantly on poverty reduction, since majority of them were rural focused and therefore, tend to reduce poverty.

Under the programme, the European Union (EU) was providing a grant of 25 million Euros to support development projects in 77 districts in six regions including Eastern Region in the country. The programme, which would start in July, this year, aims at completing 1,600 micro-projects over four years. The other beneficiary regions include the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Volta and Central. In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, urged all Ministries, District Assemblies and the Regional Co-ordinating Council to ensure that, projects provided under the MPP were supported with the necessary logistics to facilitate the effective and efficient utilization of those facilities.

He stressed the need for beneficiary communities of the programme to support the implementation of the project with their contribution of 25 per cent cost of the project, either in cash or in kind, to ensure that the projects were implemented within the stipulated time.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said since 1990, the EU had provided Ghana with a total grant of 50.1 million Euros under the MPP and had helped to provide 3,700 development projects all over the country. In a speech read on his behalf, the Head of the European Union delegation in Ghana, His Excellency Stefan Frowein, explained that all the districts in the Eastern Region were included in the programme "because poverty mapping revealed that the rural poverty remains prevalent in the region."

He said micro-projects were highly participatory interventions, which aimed at providing better living standards in rural Ghana and thus reducing poverty, where it proved to be most resilient.

The Programme Manager of the Ghana Government/European Union Micro-project Management Unit, Dr Kwaku Osafo, reminded the DCE's that the Sixth MPP programme was the "most difficult" to implement, because they would have to be dealing with the rural poor.

He said experience had shown that it succeeded only in districts where the DCE's took personal interest in the projects and went beyond their official role to ensure the implementation of the project. Dr Osafo said Eastern Region had already benefited from 138 E U/Ghana Government Micro-projects and expressed the hope that the region would do well to ensure the success of the project.

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