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Business News of Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Source: GNA

3.8 trillion cedis debt relief in 2007

Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday said 3.8 trillion cedis would accrue to Ghana as debt relief in 2007.

He explained that as at September 2006 1.87 trillion cedis had been transferred into the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Account to be used in national development.

Nana Akufo-Addo said this when he exchanged notes for two agreements between Ghana and Japan in Accra.

The first involves a grant of 1.40 million dollars (12.9 billion cedis) for improvement of fundamental medical equipment in the Upper West Region while the second is the cancellation of Ghana's commercial debts totalling 2.35 million dollars (about 22 billion cedis).

This includes the principal, interest and rates of interest of commercial debts with a repayment period of more than one year insured by the Government of Japan, which were obtained before June 1999. The Foreign Minister said commercial debt cancellation was significant as one of the constraints on Ghana's development had been the debt burden, which had gobbled up some 42 per cent of her external debts.

He said this year about 297.6 million dollars, which would have been paid for debt servicing would be retained for national development. =93Debt relief has become important to the development of our economy and I am pleased to note that the Notes we have signed today will be paving way for the cancellation of some commercial debts,=94 he said.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the debt cancellation and previous cancellations to the tune of one billion dollars by the Japanese Government was to assist the Government to promote economic and social development in the fight against poverty.

Mr Yutaka Nakamura, Charg=E9 d'Affaires of the Japanese Embassy, who signed on behalf of the Japanese Government, said six hospitals, 58 health centres and the community health nursing training school in the Upper West Region would benefit directly from the project.

"The hospitals are to be provided with equipment for the out-patients; obstetric and surgery departments and the laboratory and the health centres with basic obstetric equipments," he said.

Mr Nakamura said the Upper West Regional Hospital; Nadwoli District Hospital; Jirapa District Hospital; Lawra District Hospital; Sissala East Hospital and Nandom Hospital would be the major beneficiaries.

He said a technical cooperation project for the Upper West community based on health planning was currently being implemented through the Japan International Cooperation Agency. He pledged Japan's determination to work closely with the Ghana Health Service and the Regional Health Directorate towards the successful implementation of the Project.

Mr Nakamura commended the G government and the Ministry of Health for their commitment towards improving health delivery in Ghana and expressed the hope that the equipment would be fully utilized for their maximum effects.