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27.02.2006 General News

Project implementation performance declines in all sectors

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Accra, Feb. 27, GNA - A recent country portfolio review has shown that project implementation performance in Ghana has declined in all sectors of the economy.

Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who said this on Monday at a project implementation workshop, agreed that the decline had led to some costs to the nation but did not elaborate on the detailed review performance. He, however, enumerated reasons such as banks' tendency to see many projects take off at the same period resulting in implementation difficulties, unforeseen risks as well as delays in receiving approvals from banks.

Prof. Gyan-Baffour mentioned delays on the Government side in meeting credit effectiveness, non-adherence to the African Development Bank procurement, disbursement procedures and delays in release of Government of Ghana counterpart funds.

Opening the workshop in Accra organised by the AfDB for project managers, Prof. Gyan-Baffour said the situation called for improvement in project performance that would ensure quick response to the training needs identified by both Government and the Bank. The Deputy Finance Minister expressed dissatisfaction with commercial banks in the country saying: "If Government is lending to the banks at five per cent why should they lend to farmers at high interest rates, as 27 per cent.

"This is unfair, which explains why the farmers do not go for the loans and Government thinks something should be done about it soon." Prof. Gyan-Baffour said project implementation was the mirror of performance, hence the Government was determined to take cogent steps to reduce any delays arsing from problems associated with non-adherence to AfDB procedures.

Currently AfDB's active portfolio in Ghana consists of 28 investment projects, with agriculture as the dominant sector, followed by road transport and the social sector. Prof. Gyan-Baffour said the Government considered the implementation of the AfDB funded projects as part of its overall development agenda towards the achievements of broad macroeconomic objectives and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). "Consequently any delays in the implementation would thwart Government's development efforts aimed at ensuring growth and poverty reduction," he said.

Explaining the rationale for the workshop, Mr Mohammed Tani of the AfDB said the Bank was restructuring fund procedures with strong stress on effective and efficient project implementation modalities, which were necessary to achieve greater successes. He said the workshop was aimed at enhancing the absorption capacity of countries through aid assistance as well as to improve the delivery capacity of the Bank.

Issues that would be tackled include the procurement procedures, financial governance and concerns of stakeholders in the implementation of the projects.