General News of Sunday, 16 July 2006

Source: GNA

MCC Team Meet Heads Of Departments, Agencies

Awutu-Bawjiase (C/R), July 16, GNA-The Office of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is to offer special training to officials of Rural Banks, who would be responsible for the disbursement of funds allocated to target groups.

The move is to ensure that monies earmarked for the promotion of agriculture got to both commercial and co-operative farming groups in beneficiary districts in good time.

Mr. Matthew E. Armah, Project Manager of the MCA disclosed this when a four-man delegation from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Washington DC, USA, met Heads of Decentralized Departments, Corporations, Agencies and Institutions in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District, at Prudent Farms, near Awutu-Bawjiase at the weekend as part of their tour of the country.

They were led by Mr. Rodney G. Bent, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Other members of the delegation were, Mr. Jonathan Bloom, Country Director, Mr. Robert Hindle and Mr. Robert Goldberg.

Mr. Armah was reacting to concerns expressed by pineapple growers and technocrats who attended the meeting, about the slow pace at which funds meant for agricultural activities were more often than not, disbursed by some financial institutions in the country. Mr. Samuel Kofi Owusu-Agyei, Deputy Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Effutu, was among participants at the meeting who expressed such concerns.

He expressed the hope that the proposed training for bank officials who would disburse funds from the Millennium Challenge Account would help improve the situation when the MCA becomes fully operational later in the year.

Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Public Sector Reform, assured beneficiaries of Millennium Challenge Account Funds that Government would not allow banks that would be charged with the responsibility of disbursing funds from the MCA to make "undue profit" from the account at the expense of the beneficiaries.

Dr. Nduom repeated that final endorsement of the Millennium Challenge Account facility for Ghana is scheduled for August 1. The Sector Minister reiterated Government determination to ensure that promises it has made in terms of the provision of adequate financial, agricultural inputs and small irrigation dams under the Millennium Challenge Account Project were fulfilled.

He therefore, charged Pineapple and vegetable growers in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District to intensify their activities to justify their quest for financial support from the MCA.

Mr. Rodney Bent, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corportaion, outlined the objective of their visit to Ghana and expressed the hope that the Millennium Challenge Account facility will go a long way to help the country achieve its agricultural objectives and improve the quality of life of farmers.

Earlier, Mr. Solomon Kwashie Abbam-Quaye, District Chief Executive for Awutu-Effutu-Senya had enumerated plans that his administration had put in place to boost the production of both exportable and non-exportable crops in the District under the MCA Project.

Mr. Abbam-Quaye said nine Co-operative Farming Groups had been formed awaiting the commencement of the Millennium Challenge Account Project to source funds for the implementation of their various farming programmes.

The DCE mentioned the rehabilitation of all link roads to farming communities, the establishment of central marketing centre for farmers to market their produce, construction of warehouses, as well as the building of small irrigation dams in selected farming communities to ensure all-year-round production of pineapples and vegetables for export and local consumption.