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23.11.2005 Regional News

Regional Workshop on UPRP organised at Sekondi

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Sekondi, Nov 23, GNA - Mr. Abraham Dwuma-Odoom, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), on Wednesday said the Urban Poverty Reduction Project (UPRP), is to be funded through an African Development Bank (ADB) loan of approximately 37 point 5 million Dollars.

Addressing a Regional Sensitization workshop on UPRP for stakeholders in Sekondi, he said the government and beneficiaries would contribute 4 point 17 million dollars towards the project.

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said the amount would be used to finance activities in priority areas relating to Urban and Semi-Urban Poverty Reduction within the context of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) decentralization strategies.

He said the UPRP was targeting Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi and nine municipalities and secondary towns including Agogo, Akim Oda, Apam, Ho, Kasoa, Koforidua, Swedru, Tema and Wenchi.

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said the MLGRD would have the overall responsibility for the implementation of the UPRP to address urban poverty through wealth creation and satisfactory service delivery.

He said the piloted cities and towns would be managed through comprehensive plans in collaboration with local government, community and neighbourhood participations.

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said the UPRP would provide a framework for developing comprehensive programmes and actions consistent with the community's comprehensive plan.

He said, "Therefore, in future, all land use decisions must be consistent with the goals, objective and policies outlined in the Sekondi-Takoradi comprehensive Plan".

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said the purpose of the Sekondi-Takoradi Comprehensive Plan and Upgrading programme was to create a place where people could live, work and play in a safe and clean community. "In the ultimate, Sekondi-Takoradi would be re-packaged to become an international port like Dubai", he said.

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said the plan would also establish priorities for strengthening and building neighbourhoods and city assets, promote investments and guidance for public and private development. He said for the past three years, the Social Investment Fund (SIF) had operated in nine out of the 11 districts in the Western Region and undertook 99 socio-economic sub-projects during the period at the total cost of 17,687,534,928 cedis.

Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said as at the end of September 2005, a total amount of 15,125,706,143 cedis for the projects had been disbursed. He said the Partner District Assemblies contributed 2,455,488,290 cedis while the beneficiary communities contributed 1,604,285,574 cedis. Mr. Dwuma-Odoom said 84 of the projects were fully completed with 15 almost completed.

In an address read for her, Ms Ama Serwa Dapaah, Executive Director of SIF, said the UPRP was to be implemented under four components. She said the first was capacity building for pro-poor urban development and management for sustainable urban growth at the central and local levels.

Ms Dapaah said the second component, the Social Capital Investment Support, was to support social inclusion and integrated socio-economic infrastructure and maintenance for the betterment of livelihoods in poor urban communities.

The third component, urban small-scale enterprise development would support 600 small, dynamic, growth-oriented enterprises with high employment generation potential to upgrade them into small and medium enterprises (SME) level and the fourth component for project management and coordination.

Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, commended the SIF for its good work under the first phase of the GPRS enabling the ADB to give the nod to project to implement the second poverty reduction project.

He appealed to the management of SIF to make the UPRP more gender sensitive towards women who constitute an appreciable proportion of the poor and had benefited less intervention.

"To enhance development and growth and to bridge the socio-economic divide among the different segments of society, policy makers and implementing agencies should take on board the interest of all groups in the society," he said and called on SIF to consider the physically challenged who constituted about 10 percent of the population.

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