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General News of Saturday, 29 September 2018


Parliament approves $50m loan for commercial agric project

Parliament has given the government the nod to go in for a 50 million dollar loan from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project.

Members of Parliament were summoned on Monday for a five-day emergency sitting in part to approve the loan.

Some of the sittings went deep into the night.

The Commercial Agricultural Project facility provides Ghana with special drawing rights to access the funds to improve agricultural productivity and production of both smallholder and nucleus farms in the country. Within the five-day period, the House also passed the Mineral Income Investments Fund Bill and approved four nominees of the President onto the Supreme Court bench.

Delivering closing remarks on behalf of the Speaker, 1st Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Wusu entreated committees of Parliament to endeavour to complete outstanding committee work before the House reconvenes on October 30, 2018.

About the commercial Agric project

Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee, explained that Parliament approved the original financing for the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) on August 16, 2012, and subsequently became effective on April 8, 2013.

He said the objective of the project was to increase access to land, private sector finance, input and out markets by smallholder farmers from Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) in Commercial Agriculture in the Accra Plains and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zone.

He said the project was restructured in November 2015 due to some realities on the ground.

Dr. Assibey Yeboah also stated that as part of the restructuring, the Project Development Objective (PDO) was revised to improve agricultural productivity and production of both smallholder and nucleus farms in selected project intervention areas with increased access to reliable water, land, finance and agriculture input and output markets.

He said the revised objective gave the project a national and sector-wide scope as against the initial restriction to only Accra Plains, SADA Zone, and PPPs.

He said also included in the restructuring was the cancellation of the implementation of the Accra Plains Irrigation PPP component due to lack of interest from private investors.

He said the Committee finds the project to be immensely crucial for the improvement of agriculture production and productivity in the country and therefore recommended the House to approve the facility