Accra, Dec. 12, GNA - The African Development Bank (AfDB) is assisting the Government with a loan of 37.5 million dollars to reduce urban poverty for a five-year period beginning from next year. Government and the beneficiaries are to complement the loan with 4.17 million dollars within the project period, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said on Monday. Speaking at a sensitisation workshop for key stakeholders of the Urban Poverty Reduction Project (UPRP) he said statistics indicated poverty was still high. "Available statistics as indicated by the Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaire (CWIQ) Survey of 2003 show that 36 per cent of Ghanaians are poor, a figure indicating a reduction of three per cent from the 2000 level of 39 per cent as reported by the Ghana Living Standard Survey," Sheikh Quaye said.
The project is being implemented by the Social Investment Fund (SIF) through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and executed by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Three metropolitan areas, namely, Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi, have been selected as beneficiary communities for the project in addition to some municipalities and towns, namely, Agogo, Akim Oda, Apam, Ho, Kasoa, Koforidua, Swedru, Tema and Wenchi. Sheikh Quaye said the project was aimed at building the capacity of the cities to access loans from the international capital markets independent of Central Government intervention.
It was also aimed at enhancing MMDAs resource mobilization through improving the efficiency of revenue collection machinery at the local level. He, therefore, called on the beneficiary communities to take advantage of the opportunity to improve upon their revenue collection mechanisms in order to increase the availability of funds for development projects in their respective areas. "Several development projects have failed and/or do not meet their intended objectives due to ineffective monitoring and evaluation. I am therefore happy to announce that this project has put together an elaborate plan to ensure that the project is monitored and evaluated at the start, mid-term and completion phases to ensure that the objectives set out by the project are achieved and sustained," he said.
Ms Ama Serwah Daapah, Executive Director of SIF, said the amount by the AfDB would be used to finance activities in priority areas relating to urban and semi-urban poverty reduction within the context of GPRS decentralisation strategies. The UPRP is to contribute to poverty reduction by facilitating access of the poor to basic services in areas such as social infrastructure, resource mobilisation and capacity building for micro financing, she said.