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19.09.2005 Regional News

Agencies asked to make quick use of donor funds

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Accra, Sept 19, GNA - Nana Juaben-Boaten Siriboe, Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, on Monday tasked implementing agencies to make quick use of donor funds made available to them for execution of projects instead of keeping it in the vaults of banks.

This, he said, was important to ensure the early completion of projects and free government from being charged commitment cost on un-disbursed funds.

Nana Siriboe was speaking at the opening of a two-week training programme on international procurement and contract negotiation for public officers, consultants and contractors in Accra.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development for Africa (BADEA) is organizing the programme to improve participants' knowledge in international procurement and Ghana's Procurement Law as well as discuss procurement procedures of major development partners. Nana Siriboe said he was not happy about the practice where some project-implementing agencies had failed to access funds provided by the donors within the allotted period of the project and in the process thrown over board government's effort to enhance development and improve the living standard of citizens.

It is in this direction that the government has instituted a quarterly reporting to Cabinet on the progress of all ongoing projects to get first hand information on their implementation status. He lauded the contribution of BADEA to the country's economic development effort but expressed concern about their guidelines and processes.

These include request for open-ended letters of guarantee from suppliers, which most international banks are unwilling to issue, thus leading to delays in executing projects and delays in payment to contractors.

There is also the failure of BADEA to carry out mid-term reviews of their operations in Ghana, resulting in difficulty to adjust to changing circumstances in the initial project design. Nana Siriboe expressed the hope that the country's development partners would adopt the government's comprehensive procurement system to enhance aid effectiveness and reduce transaction cost.

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