President John Evans Atta Mills, on Tuesday held a meeting with the Acting Chief Executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Darius Mans and his executives in Washington to discuss issues relating to the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
A release on the meeting e-mailed to Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, said the meeting took stock of the challenges Government had been facing with the implementation of the compact and the success chalked so far.
Mr. Mans noted that Ghana would be half-way through the implementation in the next two months, and suggested that Government could re-allocate resources or make adjustments across the programme where there were difficulties.
He was happy that there were concrete results of the implementation of the compact, adding that of all the 19 programmes, Ghana had achieved half of them.
Mr. Mans assured President Mills that the Corporation was ready to assist Government to successfully implement the programme, noting that they were happy to be associated with the success story of Ghana.
He was particularly excited by President Mills’ repeated insistence on Ghana’s interest in Aid and not Trade.
Mr. Mans hinted of a second programme for which Ghana would be one of the first nations to be considered due to her outstanding performance and after the Board of the MCC met and set the criteria for eligibility.
He pointed out that of all the 300,000 contracts awarded, 90 per cent had been awarded to Ghanaian Contractors but the difficulty these local contractors faced was the size of their firms and their capacity to successfully implement the contract.
Mr. Mans suggested that such Ghanaian firms merged with other local firms or even enter into partnerships with other international firms to be eligible for these contracts.
He stated that the MCC was not in a position to contribute extra resources to finance the short fall in the allocation of resources and that Government should contribute the short fall of 40 million dollars.
President Mills assured the Corporation’s team that Government was on track and determined to come out with a success story.
He assured the team that despite the challenges, Government was ready to fully cooperate with the Corporation for it to succeed.
President Mills noted that although Ghana had made some strides in the compact’s implementation, she was faced with infrastructural development which needed to overcome.
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, raised concerns about the exclusion of Ghanaian contractors from the programme, especially for projects in the Afram Plains.
He noted that government would be grateful if Ghanaian contractors were considered and allowed to partner foreign firms to undertake some of the contracts.
Dr. Duffuor expressed concern that Cables and Wireless had not been considered in the initial budget allocated to Ghana, indicating that there was a shortfall of 40 million dollars which had become a burden on Government.
Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, said Government appreciated the work done in the pineapple sector and that the programme had not only built capacity, but improved the living standards of the small scale farmers in that sector.
The Corporation’s team recognized as one of the challenges, that the procurement procedure was rigorous since the system needs to be fair and transparent.
They suggested that procurement capacity should be built in that respect.
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