US$1.44bn World Bank funds undisbursed

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The World Bank Group has committed over US$2.24 billion to 27 various ongoing projects and programmes in the country.

Out of the amount the country has been able to access only US$802.09 million, representing about 35.71 per cent of the committed funds as of June this year. This leaves US$1.44 billion undisbursed.

According to the World Bank, progress towards implementing 14 out of the number are satisfactory, four are rated ‘moderate unsatisfactory’, with 11 others being ‘moderate satisfactory’. Out the 27 projects, which cut across all sectors of the economy, the World Bank has assigned various ratings to 25 of them.

These were contained in a pack of information released by the World Bank Group in line with its new policy to improve transparency and promote citizens holding their governments accountable.

Although the bank rated only one out of the 27 project implementation as unsatisfactory, four of the projects were rated as having “substantial risks” of not meeting their disbursement deadlines. Six of the projects have low risks, which mean there are virtually no obstacles that will militate against achieving their full completion.

The World Bank office has also rated the overall outlook for realising completion of eight of the projects as moderate, while four others have substantial risks. It is imperative to note that five out of the 27 projects are expected to come to a close this year, with four scheduled to be completed next year.

Five of the projects and programmes are expected to end by the end of 2015; eight expected to end in 2016, with another five slated to end in 2017. Already, the Ghana government has asked for revised closing dates for 11 of the projects from the original closing dates and may ask for extensions for others in the offing.

There is, however, a huge cost involved in doing that. The GRAPHIC BUSINESS has gathered that millions of dollars are paid to consultants and personnel offering technical assistance to projects and programmes.

Many of the projects are those that the country badly needs either to close its infrastructure gap or provide and expand basic needs and utilities for its people. The projects include Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project; the Public, Private Partnership; the Ghana Health Insurance Project; Ghana partnership for education, and the Ghana skills and technical development project.

Others are the Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprise project; the Land Administration Project; the Statistical Development Programme; Statistical Service reforms; the oil and gas capacity building; the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP); various phases of the West Africa Power Pool and the Urban Transport project.

The rest are Social Opportunities Project; the Transport sector project; the e-Ghana Project; Sustainable Land and Water Management; the Urban, and the Sustainable rural water and sanitation project, the West Africa Fisheries and other regional based projects on transportation and trade facilitation.

Long procurement procedures and processes, the lack of capacity on the part of local officials to design projects speedily as well as the lack of counterpart funding from the government have in the past been identified as some of reasons why disbursements stall or lag behind.

The government this month received proceeds from the US$1 billion Eurobond, part of which has been earmarked as counterpart funding to trigger disbursements from development partners, such as the World Bank.

One of the main projects germane to the country’s economic development and the first on the World Bank’s list of ongoing projects is the US$100 million Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project.

Being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the project came into effect in April this year and would be closing in September 2017. A total of US$10.3 million of the committed funds have been disbursed.

Project is aimed at a number of things including increasing access to land, private sector finance, input- and markets by smallholder farms from private-public partnerships in commercial agriculture, especially around the Accra Plains and SADA zone.

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