Business News of Friday, 28 February 2003

Source: .

2003 BUDGET STATEMENT (Part Three)

The Hon.Minister of Finance, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo has presented the 2003 Budget Statement to Parliament(full text).

Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs

380. Mr. Speaker, enhancing women’s access to and control of productive resources is one objective of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs under the GPRS. Activities identified to enable the achievement of these objectives include the promotion of women’s access to credit and promotion and strengthening of women’s micro enterprises. To ensure increased participation of both women and children in the development of the country, the Ministry undertook a number of activities and programmes geared to their needs to reduce poverty.

Performance in 2002

381. Mr. Speaker, consistent with the GPRS, in 2002 the Ministry undertook several activities that were designed to reduce poverty among women through gender sensitisation and increased access to flexible credit terms for small and micro enterprises. An amount of ?9.2 billion of HIPC resources and ?24.2 billion from the Women Development Fund (WDF) was released for this purpose. The major achievements include:

* the granting of credit to 13,100 women farmers for the production of cassava, maize and rice countrywide, 8,500 fishmongers, 10,000 gari processors and 7,000 women in other trading activities;

* the Ministry also distributed 250 machines for gari, sheabutter and groundnut oil processing to women groups in all regions of the country. One hundred leisure boxes and library books were distributed to deprived communities in the Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions;

* the donation of sewing machines to some vocational schools;

* training workshops on demonstration of tomato processing machines were organized for women farmers; and

* a Forum on Safe Motherhood for 400 participants to create awareness on high pregnancy morbidity rates and methods to promote safe pregnancies was organised.

Outlook for 2003

382. Mr. Speaker, in line with the GPRS key objective of enhancing women's access to and control of productive resources, the ministry, in 2003, will continue with the on-going activities under the HIPC and WDF programmes and initiate some new ones. The new ones will include:

* workshop for 100 women in iodized salt at Ada;

* education of 500 nutritionist in 50 second cycle schools;

* training for 1000 micro finance beneficiaries;

* finance and training of 2000 gari, sheanut and tomato processors;

* distribution of 1500 leisure boxes to 500 communities;

* rehabilitation of 500 street children;

* sensitization of 500 communities on Gender Policy;

* education of 500 communities on Safe Motherhood practices; and

* 20 Regional based workshops on Sexual Abuse and related Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

383. The Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs has been allocated ?9.7 billion. This will be augmented by HIPC and WDF resources.

Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment

Performance in 2002

384. Mr. Speaker, improvement in skills training is of major concern to Government under the GPRS. As part of the efforts to promote community-based vocational and technical skills training, the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) opened 10 new centres at Bremen Asikuma, Sampa, Axim, Heman-Buoho, Anum, Manso-Amenfi, Gbeogo-Namalteng, Kumawu, Bolgatanga and new Ayoma. About 1000 JSS leavers were admitted to these centres to pursue various courses ranging from hairdressing to computer technology.

385. Thirty-five additional Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (ICCES) started skills training, and 5 regional centres (Accra, Takoradi, Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale) were identified as NVTI Computer Skills Training Centres. A site was acquired in Kumasi and is being developed to train Instructors for Technical and Vocational Institutions.

386. Mr. Speaker, recognising the high youth unemployment problem, the Ministry is expanding all its vocational/technical and skill training institutions to maximize their intake. The Ministry also instituted a policy to open all social welfare training institutions as well as rehabilitation centers hitherto exclusively for the disabled to the public.

387. The vocational training curricula were reviewed to increase their relevance to the current labour market. Entrepreneurship and co-operative programmes were added, and graduates exposed to micro financing to encourage the youth to enter into self-employment.

388. Mr. Speaker, a feasibility study was completed on the viability of training the youth in bamboo and rattan craft at Anyinam, Offinso, Akrokerri, Wassa Saa and Assin Jakai. Four NVTI centres were designated as bamboo centres and one of the centres started adapting wood producing machines to process bamboo.

389. Mr. Speaker, in 2002, 1,218 trainees completed training in employable, vocational/ technical skills through a special outreach programme in partnership with master craftsmen/women and were awarded certificates at the Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi Institutes of Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (OIC), while 945 disadvantaged youth were enrolled in these centres.

390. The Department of Co-operatives mobilized, nurtured and registered 364 co-operative societies in the year 2002. This was against 207 societies registered in 2001.

391. The Department organized capacity building courses for 500 co-operative societies and other collaborative NGOs to sharpen their skills and enhance efficient management of their businesses and improve their competitiveness and incomes.

392. Mr. Speaker, various interventions were undertaken by the Ministry for the registered unemployed youth. In this direction, competency based training modules of 6 weeks duration were developed in selected trade areas for artisans and master craftsmen/women in tailoring and dress making, refrigeration, air-conditioning among others.

Outlook for 2003

393. Mr. Speaker, over 60 per cent JSS graduates either enter the informal traditional apprenticeship system or join the ranks of the unemployed youth in the urban centres. To arrest the situation the following activities the Ministry will:

* provide support to increase access to technical, vocational education and training to all categories of persons including persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups;

* reform and strengthen the traditional apprenticeship system to improve productivity in the informal sector;

* develop training systems and mechanisms to facilitate coordination and linkages between different sectors of the economy including research institutions and industries; and

* reform and improve the facilities at Rehabilitation Centres of the Department of Social Welfare to enable all categories of persons including the disabled and other vulnerable groups gain access to an integrated training programme.

394. The competency-based training courses for which modules of short duration were developed last year in selected trade areas for key Artisans and Master craftsmen/women in tailoring and dressmaking, refrigeration, air-conditioning will begin this year.

395. A draft Labour Bill is now in this august house. The implementation of which will involve the establishment of a National Labour Commission to facilitate the settlement of industrial disputes and maintenance of industrial peace. The Labour Department will also be restructured.

396. The (MDPI) will also increase their activities in the area of capacity building to support existing enterprises in productivity awareness, measurement and entrepreneurial skills development.

397. A total allocation of ?42.6 billion is made to the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment for 2003.

Public Safety Sector

398. Mr. Speaker, the Public Safety Sector comprises of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Judicial Service and the Ministry of the Interior. For the implementation of their 2003 programmes the sector has a total allocation of ?1,222.0 billion representing 11.7 per cent of total discretionary expenditure.

399. In an effort to deepen good governance these agencies were strengthened to better protect the freedom and security of the people of Ghana.

Ministry of Justice

Performance in 2002

400. In order to improve speedy adjudication of both civil and criminal cases 30 Attorneys were recruited.

Outlook for 2003

401. Mr. Speaker, in the year 2003, the Ministry will establish a Business Law Division to reform all laws which impede the establishment and growth of businesses.

402. In addition, the Ministry will recruit 30 more Attorneys to further improve the speedy adjudication of both civil and criminal cases and deepen the respect of human rights.

403. The mechanization and installation of local area network to facilitate effective coordination and monitoring of activities will be implemented this year.

404. The Registrar General’s Department will this year install computers to facilitate the process of business registration and the search for information and registered businesses.

405. For these activities the Ministry has been allocated a total of ?37.3 billion for 2003.

Judicial Service

Performance in 2002

406. Mr. Speaker, the refurbishment of the 10 Regional High Courts and the Supreme Court Library started in 2002.

407. Mr. Speaker, the automation of the Courts as a means of improving Judicial administration in Ghana involving the refurbishment of the Supreme Court Library and the High Court Registries in all the ten Regions of the Country was started during the year.

408. Some training programmes and seminars were organized for Judges during the year. In addition the Service facilitated the training of Scopists and Court Recorders.

Outlook for 2003

409. The automated court system will be extended to all regional capitals of the Country with two fully automated Courts each in Kumasi and Sekondi.

410. In this connection the following training programmes will be organized:

* training in computer skills and case management for 50 judges and 184 supporting staff of the 10 High Courts in the regional capitals; and

* training of 120 supporting staff in computer skills in Records and Registry management.

411. The introduction of court mechanization and computerization in the Juvenile and Family Tribunals in the regional capitals will continue this year.

412. The Supreme Court Library will be equipped with books and on-line services to improve research facilities and thus speed up the compilation of Judgments. The refurbishment of 10 regional High Courts will also be completed and equipped with books to facilitate research.

413. An amount of ?95.9 billion has been allocated to the Judicial Service for its programmes in 2003.

Ministry of Defence

Performance in 2002

414. Mr. Speaker, during the year, a number of mini-PABX systems were installed in some of the units in Kumasi, Tamale and Sunyani of the Northern Command, thereby improving the level of communication among the units in the Northern Command.

415. The building of the commercial and computer center to promote computer literacy and education is 70 per cent completed. In connection with this 300 Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) personnel went through IT training.

416. The first phase of the Armed Forces Barracks Rehabilitation Project comprising 10 projects was completed.

417. About 50 per cent of the work on the improvement of infrastructure at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) was carried out in 2002.

418. The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) over the year has put in place a number of health delivery programmes aimed at enhancing poverty reduction. In this connection, the Ministry was able to acquire 10 ambulances to facilitate the effective operation of its Emergency Response Unit.

Outlook for 2003

419. Mr. Speaker, the Ghana Armed Forces in 2003 will improve upon its combat readiness and strategic logistical support for rapid response and internal and external peacekeeping operations.

420. The second phase of the Ghana Armed Forces Barracks Rehabilitation Project will commence, while work on the Burma Camp exchange project will continue.

421. It is expected that work on the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre Project will be completed this year.

422. The GAF will actively support the civil authorities in combating crimes and the promotion of peace and stability for the socio-economic development of the nation within a decentralized democratic government. The Ministry of Defence has been allocated ?439.2 billion to carry its programmes and activities for 2003.

Ministry of Interior

423. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Interior and its agencies have been allocated ?624.7 billion for 2003.

424. The Ministry in 2002 improved coordination and cooperation among the security agencies through the National Security Committee. A number of actions were also initiated towards ensuring that the country’s development was undertaken within a safe and secure environment.

Ghana Police Service

Performance in 2002

425. Mr. Speaker, the year 2002 has witnessed drastic reduction in the crime rate. This has been achieved through the collaborative effort of the Police and Military. This achievement was enhanced by the acquisition of 413 vehicles of various types and the rehabilitation of 100 Land Rovers.

426. The improvement in the transportation system of the Police Force has ensured that most Police Stations in the country now have vehicles to promote effective and efficient operation.

427. Mr. Speaker, the recruitment of 1,830 new police personnel improved the maintenance of law and order and helped to reduce the incidence of crime.

Outlook for 2003

428. Mr. Speaker, the availability of a reliable and efficient communication equipment is vital for the effective performance of the Police Service. Steps will be taken to establish a nation-wide communication system to link all Police Stations and all security agencies.

429. More two-way radios, mobile phones, fax machines, line telephones and PABX telephone exchange will be acquired. Increased day and night patrols in towns, cities and communities will be undertaken using the over 400 vehicles acquired in 2002. To boost morale in the service, new Police barracks are to be constructed to meet the accommodation needs of the Ghana Police Personnel this year.

430. The Ministry will in 2003 develop the following policies among others aimed at ensuring greater safety and security in the country:

* a policy on early warning system on internal conflicts to help avert or at least minimize the numerous chieftaincy, land, labour and other disputes which cost the nation billions of cedis;

* a policy on the management and usage of explosives; and

* a policy on Private Security Organisations to streamline their activities.

431. Mr. Speaker, it is envisaged that in 2003 a highly efficient computerized crime and criminal database and information system will be established to ensure speedy gathering of information on criminals.

432. The Monitoring and Inspectorate Unit will be strengthened to help address acts of indiscipline and corruption in the Police Service. The Unit will also investigate public complaints against police personnel.

433. A comprehensive programme is to be developed to address the problems of domestic violence and child trafficking.

434. This year the Police Service will recruit 2,000 more personnel.

Ghana Prisons Service

Performance in 2002

435. Mr. Speaker, in 2002, the Ghana Prisons Service recruited 557 prison officers to improve the officer to inmates ratio.

Outlook for 2003

436. Mr. Speaker, new Camp Prisons are to be established at Yeji in Brong-Ahafo Region and Akaa in the Volta Region. The camps will help to decongest existing prisons and enhance agricultural training schemes in the Prisons Service.

437. The requisite machinery and equipment will be procured to impart the necessary vocational and industrial training to prisoners to ensure their rehabilitation.

438. About 300 prisoners who will have acquired the requisite skills would be resettled after their release from prisons.

439. A programme for the relocation of some of the prisons will be initiated with the Maamobi Prisons Complex being the first to benefit.

Ghana National Fire Service

Performance in 2002

440. Mr. Speaker, the Ghana National Fire Service acquired 89 new fire tenders, 11 command vehicles, one workshop van, stand-by generator and 200 drums of foam compound during the year as part of Government’s efforts to improve upon the performance of the Service.

441. Three new Fire Stations were opened at Weija near Accra, Ejisu in Ashanti Region and Aveyime Battor in the Volta Region.

Outlook for 2003

442. Mr. Speaker, fire education will be intensified throughout the country against bush fires as well as fires in markets, institutions, work places and among the general public. In addition more fire volunteer squads are to be established in the country while steps will be taken to augment the number of fire cadets in second cycle schools.

443. The Fire Precautions (Premises) Regulations will come out this year. This should provide a basis for the Fire Service to ensure that all premises are better organized for the prevention and management of fires.

Narcotics Control Board (NCB)

Performance in 2002

444. Mr. Speaker, the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) intensified its efforts towards countering the menace of drug trafficking in the country. The capacity of the NCB was improved by the acquisition of equipment for the detection of drugs at Kotoka International Airport.

445. The Board also undertook drug awareness campaign in 20-second cycle schools to educate students to avoid the use of drugs.

Outlook for 2003

446. Mr. Speaker, the Board will increase its activities to apprehend drug traffickers and barons especially at Kotoka International Airport and continue with its programme for the destruction of cannabis farms.

447. The Board will also establish pilot drug treatment and rehabilitation centres in the country to help drug addicts.

448. The Board will establish offices at Sampa, Elubo, Aflao and Tema Harbour. The pilot Alternative Development programme will be extended to other districts in the country.

Ghana Immigration Service

Performance in 2002

449. Mr. Speaker, to ensure that our country is free from undesirable visitors, the Immigration Service prosecuted 250 persons for various document frauds and breaches of the country’s Immigration Laws. Also a total of 295 foreigners were repatriated/deported from Ghana in the year 2002.

450. The Ghana Immigration Service in conjunction with the Ghana Refugee Board registered 40,000 persons at the Buduburam Refugee Camp. These will be screened to identify the genuine refugees to accord them proper refugee status.

Outlook for 2003

451. Mr. Speaker, the Service will complete a Data Centre to improve data management during the course of the year.

452. The communication system within the Service will be improved to enhance effectiveness and efficiency.

Administration Sector

453. The Administration Sector has been allocated a total amount of ?1,496.5billion representing 14.3 per cent of total discretionary expenditure.

Ministry of Finance

Performance in 2002

454. Mr. Speaker, as part of the public expenditure management system the Ministry of Finance undertook the following:

* established a Budget Development Unit to internalize the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) process within the Budget Division as well as MDAs; * introduced an allocation register to track releases made to MDAs; and * established a Public Expenditure Monitoring Unit to collate data on expenditure returns from MDAs.

455. In addition, the Ministry continued to use the commencement certificate as the basis for starting new and ongoing projects while the Project Implementation Monitoring Unit (PIMU) carried out field inspections of MDA projects for which interim payment certificates were submitted.

456. Mr. Speaker, a Non-Tax Revenue Unit was established in the Ministry to facilitate the collection, accounting and reporting of non-tax revenues from MDAs.

457. The recovery of Government on-lent and guaranteed loans is another area of focus by the government in her effort to increase domestic revenue mobilization. In pursuance of this objective, the Ministry in 2002 appointed 21 debt collection agencies to assist in the recovery of loans.

458. As a result, the Ministry recovered a total of ?48.4 billion from State Owned Enterprises, Parastatals and Private companies as against ?6.2 billion in 2001.

459. The ability of existing staff to acquire the necessary skills to carry out their assignments under the new Budget and Public Expenditure Management System (BPEMS) was enhanced through training.

Outlook for 2003

460. Mr. Speaker, for its programmes in 2003 the Ministry has been allocated ?231.2 billion. Among the activities to be undertaken by the Ministry:

* organization of training for MDA Budget Committees and members of the Budget Development Unit on the budget preparation and implementation process; and

* establishment of a collaborative team with Civil Service Performance Improvement Programme (CSPIP), National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP) and other relevant agencies on linking items 1 and 2 to MDA objectives.

461. With the assistance of debt collecting agencies, the Ministry will also pursue all SOEs and Private companies indebted to Government.

462. It is expected that with the on-going verification and certification of outstanding balances of debts owed to Government by debtor organisations, an estimated amount of ?68 billion will be recovered in 2003 representing an increase of about 40 per cent above the recoveries made in 2002.

463. The Ministry will re-introduce the defunct cross-debt clearing system, which existed among the utility service providers and address all problems that inhibit the operation and functioning of the system.

464. Field inspection of MDA projects will continue to form the basis of examining interim payment certificates.

465. Mr. Speaker, the current structure of the Ministry of Finance does not adequately support the efficient execution of its mandated functions. To address this problem, the Ministry will be restructured to focus its operations on its core functions of:

* ensuring macroeconomic stability and economic growth; and
* resource mobilisation and allocation.

466. The restructuring programme has the objective of enhancing administrative efficiency and making the operations of the Ministry more performance oriented.

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development

Performance in 2002

467. Mr. Speaker, it is to be noted that the involvement of more people and institutions in the formulation and delivery of development policy for poverty reduction and growth (GPRS) is a mark of the decentralization policy under the Ghana Poverty reduction Strategy.

468. To this extent, in 2002, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) prepared draft bills reviewing the Local Government Law 1993, (Act 462) and for the establishment of the envisaged Local Government Service to the Attorney-General’s Department through Cabinet for onward transmission to Parliament. It is expected that the revised Law will be promulgated to enhance the widening of access of the public to political authority and improve their involvement in the process of governance.

469. Mr. Speaker, as part of the Ministry’s activities to strengthen the administrative capacity of District Assemblies, 23 pick-up vehicles were procured under the Urban V project and handed over to the beneficiary districts. Also, training was provided to the staff of these districts in the areas of development planning, municipal finance, municipal engineering and computer skills.

470. Waste Management equipment, including cesspit emptier trucks, solid waste containers valued at about ?8.6 billion were also procured under the project for distribution to the 11 beneficiary district assemblies.

471. Mr. Speaker, the Kumasi Subin drainage works, and the first phase of the Odaw drainage works in Accra under the Urban Environmental Sanitation Project (Urban IV), were completed and commissioned in 2002.

472. Under the same Project, the Ministry began work on the construction of:

* phase two of the Odaw Primary Drain in Accra;

* sanitary landfills in Tamale, Kumasi, and Sekondi; and

* sewage treatment facility in Tema and Accra.

473. The pilot solid waste collection exercise involving the use of the private sector for solid waste collection in Tamale, Kumasi, Sekondi/Takoradi and Tema continued.

474. Under Urban V Project, work on the rehabilitation of basic municipal services, including markets, lorry parks, public toilets, town roads, slaughterhouses commenced in 24 of the 25 beneficiary towns during the year. Work in 9 of the 24 towns were substantially completed and handed over to the beneficiary districts during the year.

475. Mr. Speaker, under the Promotion of District Capitals Programme, the defects liability period for the contractors who constructed the water supply schemes in Ejura, Kintampo and Nkoranza ended in November 2002. The schemes were operated by the communities throughout the year.

476. in line with the programme of facilitating the entry of women’s groups into small-scale commercial and artisanal and entrepreneurial ventures, the Department of Community Development facilitated the formation of 1,200 women’s groups totaling 18,000 members in 2002.

477. A total of 3,508 youths were given vocational skills training, made up of 2,876 young women in 20 Women’s Training Institutes (WTIs) and 632 young men in 4 Centres for Rural Industries (CRIs).

478. Work was also initiated on 9 constructional and 8 rehabilitation projects in the various WTIs and CRIs while gas installation in all the 24 vocational institutions are ongoing.

Outlook for 2003

479. Mr. Speaker, an amount of ?273.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in 2003.

480. The following major construction works under the Urban IV Project which commenced last year to reduce flooding and improve environmental sanitation in our major towns shall be completed by December 2003. They are:

* Phase two of the reconstruction of the Odaw drain in Accra; and
* Construction of Sanitary Landfills in Tamale, Kumasi and Sekondi.

481. In addition, phase three of the reconstruction of the Odaw drain in Accra will commence this year. The pilot solid waste collection exercise involving the use of the private sector for solid waste collection in Tamale, Kumasi, Sekondi/Takoradi and Tema will also continue in 2003.

482. Under the Urban V Project, the Ministry will complete work on rehabilitation of basic municipal services, including markets, lorry parks, public toilets, town roads, slaughter houses in the remaining 16 of the 25 beneficiary towns during the year.

483. Mr. Speaker, the Ministry will also commence reconstruction of a total of 20km of town roads in 10 selected towns, and commence the procurement process for 23 cesspit emptiers and 20 solid waste collection skip trucks to enhance environmental sanitation in the 25 towns. 484. As a further step to data upgrading towards, improved planning, property valuation and overall revenue generation, aerial photography and digital mapping of a total of 2000 sq. km. of built up areas will commence in all 25-project towns during 2003.

485. The Ministry, under the District Capitals II Project, will construct markets and/or lorry parks in 10 Districts in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions this year.

486. The Department of Community Development will facilitate the entry of 1600 women’s groups into small-scale commercial/artisanal and entrepreneurial ventures.

Ministry of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation/National Development Planning Commission (NDPC)

Performance in 2002

487. Mr. Speaker, major achievements of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in 2002 include the following:-

* publication of the GPRS document;

* development of Guidelines using the GPRS as basis for preparing District Development Plans;

* linking the GPRS into the budgetary process;

* supervision of the preparation of District Medium-Term Development Plans in 93 of the 110 District Assemblies; and

* submission to Parliament of Development Policy Framework, in the form of a coordinated social and economic development programme.

488. Mr. Speaker, as part of the activities of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation, an action plan to operationalise the recommendation arising from consensus building effort to accelerate economic growth and development of Ghana was developed.

489. The National Monitoring and Evaluation software – “PlanInfo”-was reviewed for installation and use in four districts. A wireless Internet connectivity for Internet access, Local Area Network (LAN) and an Internet System for the Ministry and NDPC are in operation.

490. One hundred and fifty-six companies and 255 products have been admitted into the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme as part of the effort of Ghana to facilitate intra-regional trade.

491. Four major interventions targeting mostly women under the Emergency Social Relief Programme (ESRP) were implemented. These are:

* micro-credit for small scale fish processors;

* a loan scheme for small scale poultry farmers;

* outboard motors for fishing communities; and

* food marketing loans to small scale food marketers.

492. An amount of ?4.62 billion from HIPC Resources was disbursed in line with ESRP guidelines.

493. Activities of the Community-Based Poverty Reduction Project (CPRP) took off in of May 2002. The Project comprises three components: Poverty Measurement; Street Children; Health and Nutrition.

494. Mr. Speaker, the Social Investment Fund (SIF) expanded its coverage of activities from 6 to 45 districts during the period. Sub-projects funded by SIF included:

* a fish smoking center and a satellite clinic in Accra;

* two boreholes in the Bongo District;

* the supply of furniture to the Vea Basic School were commissioned; and

* telecommunication equipment was installed at Bongo District Assembly.

495. The Government of Ghana in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme initiated the Wealth Creation and Social Development Programme (UNDP)(WCSDP) to support the building of national capacity to implement the GPRS and also build capacity for sustainable production and income generation.

Outlook for 2003

496. Mr. Speaker, the major output of work of the NDPC work programme in 2003 will be the effective and efficient coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the GPRS for the desired impact on poverty reduction and growth through employment and wealth creation.

497. In this connection some of the activities to be undertaken include:

* co-ordination and monitoring and evaluation of the GPRS;

* finalisation and presentation of the national development strategy to Parliament and co-ordination of related development plans; and

* facilitation of the revision of the District Medium Term Development Plans and the preparation of Sectoral Plans.

498. Mr. Speaker, the work programme of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Regional Co-operation will include the following:

* sensitisation of exporters on the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) on quarterly basis, together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry;

* the institutionalisation of the provision for free movement of goods, persons and 24 hour open borders by the second quarter of the year;

* the monitoring and evaluation on a quarterly basis of the implementation of the convergence criteria of ECOWAS member countries and working towards the adoption of a common currency in 2005; and

* in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serve as liaison to external organizations such as the NEPAD Secretariat and ECOWAS.

499. An amount of ?21.8 billion has been allocated to the Ministry to implement its programmes in 2003.

Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs

Outlook for 2003

500. The Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs will in 2003 be committed to broader and structured consultation for the enhancement of channels of communication with the people and feedback to inform policy formulation and national ownership of programmes to ensure effective implementation and sustainability.

501. Accordingly, the Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs will be supported to implement a development communication enhancement programme that will strengthen public and private development communication agencies, promote media professionalism and bridge the digital divide in the country and enhance E-Governance among others.

502. The Ministry has been allocated an amount of ?87.3 billion cedis for its programmes in 2003.


Poverty Reduction

Performance in 2002

503. Mr. Speaker, last year Government committed itself to a systematic reduction of poverty through the implementation of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy whose main goal is to ensure sustainable equitable growth, accelerated poverty reduction and protection of the vulnerable and excluded within a decentralised democratic environment.

504. In 2002 actual expenditures for basic services, and income generation activities for the poor and vulnerable of the society amounted to ?2,710.9 billion made up of ?2,535.8 from GOG and ?175.14 billion of HIPC resources (Total excludes donor poverty expenditures). The amount represents 25.5per cent of total Government Expenditure.

505. By the end of the year about 75per cent of that allocation was spent on basic human development services - primary health care, basic education and safe drinking water. The rest of the resources were spent on other poverty reducing activities such as employment generation, good governance, human rights, public safety, disaster management and in improving the well being of the vulnerable in the society.

506. In 2002 emphasis was also placed on the creation of employment opportunities through training in vocations and employable skills of the youth including those with disabilities and the provision of credit and food-processing machinery to women, particularly.

Utilisation of HIPC Relief Funds in 2002

507. Mr. Speaker, Government’s decision to access the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative was taken amid much anxiety by Ghanaians. The decision was a bold one, but one which many people were not sure, would yield much benefit. One year on, I can positively say that as a nation, we have made gains, part of which would not have been possible without recourse to the HIPC funds.

508. Total projected HIPC relief savings for 2002 for both government and government guaranteed debt was about US$ 275.35 million (approximately ?2.22 trillion). Out of this about US$92.5million (approximately ?746.42 billion) was to be lodged in the HIPC account at Bank of Ghana and US$ 182.85 million (approximately ? 1.47 trillion) to be cancelled. As at end 2002, a total amount of US$57.02 million (approximately ?460.12 billion) had been lodged into the HIPC account, received mainly from World Bank, ADF/ADF and IMF.

509. Though the HIPC Initiative is internationally driven, the process has been controlled internally and local priorities are driving the disbursement and use of funds.

510. Our programme for the use of the debt relief comprises three main elements:

* using a proportion of the relief for domestic debt reduction;
* funding projects developed by sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies for poverty reduction and growth; and
* funding specified projects submitted by District Assemblies.

511. Mr. Speaker, as planned, a ?81.4 billion of the relief from HIPC has gone into reducing domestic debt thereby reducing pressure on Government.

512. Mr. Speaker, disbursements made for MDAs projects under HIPC for 2002 totalled ?116.6 billion. These projects were targeted primarily at reducing poverty, generating employment and enhancing growth. A matrix on the utilization of HIPC funds by DMAs is included in the Appendix. Examples include:

* an amount of ?17 billion disbursed by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs for small businesses in agro processing, gari processing groundnut processing involving over 15,000 women;

* the ?18.6 billion Farmers Assistance Programme under the Office of the Senior Minister to support over 40,000 small scale farmers across the country;

* the ?9.9 billion disbursed under the Emergency Social Relief Programme (ESRP) under the Ministry of Economic Planning and Regional Cooperation to small scale crop growers in the Northern, Central, Upper East, Upper West and Eastern Regions;

* A sum of ?6.12 billion provided for the completion of craftsmen’s centres at Aburi, Ahwia, Bolgatanga, Kpando and Salaga under the programme of the Ministry of Trade and Industries to employ over 2,000 persons;

* ?26 billion disbursed to the Community Water and Sanitation Agency for rural water projects especially in the guinea worm endemic areas;

* 7.8 billion disbursed by the Ministry of Energy to provide electricity to benefit 22 districts and 109 towns.

513. The allocation to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies was ?117 billion, half of which was disbursed with the remaining half currently being processed for disbursement subject to effective use of the first tranche. The specified projects for districts were in the areas on education, health, water and sanitation. This tranche of HIPC disbursement is being managed through the Ministry of Local Government

Programme for use of HIPC Funds in 2003

Outlook for 2003

514. For the second year of the implementation of the GPRS Government directed a deepening of the integration of the poverty reduction programmes of all MDAs into the budget process. Emphasis is being placed on Government’s medium term development priorities.

515. To implement programmes and projects more directly affecting the poor, Government has allocated a total of ?4,633.0 billion made up of ?3,553.0 billion from GOG, and ?680 billion from the HIPC fund for 2003 and about ?400.0 billion of HIPC resources over from 2002. The total poverty reduction allocation in 2003 excluding Donor resources is an increase over the 2002 actual expenditure and represents 29.6 per cent of total Government Expenditure.

516. The resources will be used to improve human development through increases in access to basic services in education, health and sanitation, safe water and for improvements in incomes of the poor and vulnerable of the society through employment generation and the provision of productive assets. Priority will also be given to the implementation of special programmes for the vulnerable and excluded such as equipping kayayei and the physically challenged with employable skills, mitigating the impact of disasters on victims and protection of the rights of women and children.

517. Mr. Speaker, as Government has repeatedly stated since the beginning of its term of office, there can be only limited poverty reduction without growth. Government is therefore committed to ensuring that the benefits of the enhanced HIPC programme are accomplished and channelled to both poverty related and growth enhancing projects.

518. The debt relief from HIPC this year will be used to support the implementation of the five Medium Term Priorities areas which have been outlined in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) including reducing the domestic debt. As was the case last year, 20per cent of the total relief will be used for domestic debt payments with the remaining proportion of the relief focused on growth areas where the poor participate most, such as agriculture and in the informal sector.

519. Government is determined to use HIPC relief as instrument to deepen its decentralization policy and will channel more funds directly to the Districts. To ensure proper and effective use of such resources, District Chief Executives are expected to coordinate their activities with sector ministry officials such as District Education, Health and Planning Officers.

520. The relief from HIPC will ensure a fuller implementation of priority programmes due to increased fiscal space provided by the debt relief. The MTP to be supported include the modernisation of agriculture, which requires US$27 million but for which only US$0.63 million could be financed in the 2003 budget. Other areas in the MTP to be funded by HIPC include the provision of employable skills estimated to cost US$5 million in 2003 and ICT access to schools estimated to cost US$8 million.

521. Micro finance programmes will be expanded to ensure that even more people can engage in profitable ventures, create wealth and reduce poverty. The revolving credit schemes set up in 2002 for the use of the HIPC funds will be streamlined to ensure efficiency in the use of resources.

522. Additional funds for increasing access to quality education, health and sanitation will be disbursed through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies from HIPC relief. It is expected that these funds will be additional to what Districts regularly plan and budget for using the District Assemblies Common Fund.

523. The tracking system for the use of HIPC funds, introduced last year, has motivated us to spend the relief, based on our priorities to reduce poverty and to enhance growth initiatives. This year, the tracking and monitoring system for the use of HIPC funds will be strengthened to safe guard the use of these funds.

524. In education sector in particular, HIPC funds will be used to address the existing inequities between urban and rural deprived areas. Gender inequalities will also be addressed. Work on upgrading thirty (30) senior secondary schools, in all ten (10) regions of the country as highlighted in the President’s State of the Nation Address for 2003, will receive about ?50 billion from HIPC relief funds. In addition, funding will also be provided to establish scholarships for bright students from deprived rural areas to gain admission into the more established schools.

525. For health, funds from HIPC will support the establishment of the health insurance schemes and means of ensuring quality and affordable health service and coverage for the poor to enhance the delivery of health services.