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14.07.2005 Business & Finance

Netherlands grants Ghana 78.5 million euros

GNA

Accra, July 14, GNA - Ghana and the Netherlands on Thursday signed three grant agreements totalling 78.5 million euros to support Ghana's budget from 2005 to 2008.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, signed for Ghana while Mr Arie Van Der Wiel, Ambassador of the Netherlands, initialled for his country.

Under the first agreement, 10 million euros would be disbursed this year to fund the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) while the rest would be disbursed in three equal instalments of 15 million euros each to support two other development projects.

Under the second agreement 21.012 million euros would be allocated to partly finance the Cape Coast Water Supply Project. The third grant is to help to establish 10 dental clinics in various hospitals including those in Bongo, Sefwi Wiawso, Obuasi and Kadjebi Districts.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said the Cape Coast Water Supply System, which served a population of about 340,000 in 134 towns and villages, covered a large area.

It covers all coastal towns from Komenda and Elimina to the west and Moree and Saltpond to the east of Cape Coast. The existing water project has two treatment plants of a total capacity of 29,510 cubic metres per day while the daily water demand is estimated at 36,502 cubic metres.

This, the Minister said, had caused a shortfall in supply and, therefore, the grant by the Netherlands was very timely to help to solve the acute water problem in that area.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said with the grants, the water treatment plant would be rehabilitated. A new plant with an installed daily capacity of 30,000 cubic meters with its source from the Pra River would be built. "On completion of the project, it will be possible to meet the projected water demand of Cape Coast and its environs up to year 2020 and beyond," the Minister, said.

Mr Van Der Wiel said all the three development projects, which his country was supporting, were very important and that the MDBS was a crucial vehicle for the pursuit of a coherent and harmonized development strategy.

"The Netherlands strongly believes that the mechanism of MDBS positively influences the ability of the Ghana Government to produce the desired outcome of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS)," the Ambassador said.

He said Ghana since last year had become the largest recipient of Dutch ORET funds, a programme of grants combined with commercial loans, which are made available to buy capital goods and engineering services in the Netherlands.

He praised Ghana for her efforts at making ambitious policy reforms and thus becoming the most ambitious reformer in Africa.

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