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15.07.2005 General News

Parliament adopts report on 125 million-dollar facility


Accra, July 15, GNA - Parliament on Friday adopted the report of the finance committee on a development credit agreement between the government and the International Development Association for an amount of 125 million dollars for the Third Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC-3). The PRSC-3 is designed to build on recent reforms carried out by the government under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) programme. The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mrs Grace Coleman, said the credit agreement would "harmonise policies and reforms aimed at improving the living conditions of Ghanaians by promoting growth, incomes, employment, accelerated human resource development and the strengthening of governance and public sector management as outlined in the 2005 budget statement."

The proceeds of the credit would be used to finance the 2005 budget in two ways, first the Bank of Ghana on behalf of the government shall use the foreign exchange to finance foreign expenditures and also to shore up the country's foreign exchange reserves.

Secondly, the Bank of Ghana shall credit the Consolidated Fund with the cedi equivalent of the facility, which shall then be used to finance local expenditure arising out of the budget, Mrs Coleman said. The credit facility has a ten-year moratorium and repayment shall involve the payment of the principal through a semi-annual installment at a rate of one per cent, which shall commence in September 15, 2014 and end at 2024.

"Each installment thereafter shall attract a rate of two per cent up till 2044," the Committee's report stated. In supporting the adoption of the report, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, NDC-Tamale-South, said malnutrition, which was a poverty indicator, was on the increase and there was the need for government to put in more effort to arrest the situation.

Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader, also added his voice to calls to deal with negative health indicators such as the worsening infant and maternal mortality rate.

He said the credit agreement should provide a basis to address the numerous challenges facing vulnerable groups in the society. He said part of the loan facility should also be used to support institutions supervising the poverty reduction programme. Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, said there was the need for proper data on the poverty levels of various districts to ensure that poverty stricken ones received adequate attention.