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Millennium Challenge Corporation extends $8m grant to Ghana

BY: Samuel K. Obour

 Veep Amissah-Arthur addressing the sector members.The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has extended an $8 million grant to the government to conduct feasibility studies and organise preparatory activities towards the second compact for Ghana.

The compact is committed to addressing challenges confronting the critical sectors of the economy, particularly gas and the utilities.

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, made this known at a joint power sector roundtable between the government and a delegation from the MCC.

The occasion also marked the signing of the agreement to give effect to the grant at the Independence Square, Accra, last Tuesday.

A compact is a multi-year agreement between the MCC and an eligible country to fund specific programmes targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said following Ghana’s selection to develop a second compact, several activities had taken place between the government and the US government through the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

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On the critical milestones so far, he said the team had identified power as a binding constraint to private sector investment in the economy.

He said following that realisation, the government submitted concept papers which presented five potential projects for the consideration of the MCC.

They include increasing private sector investment in power generation, studying the distribution sector and improving access to electricity.

On the MCC’s acceptance of the revised proposal, the Vice-President said the Ghana government showed commitment and had been working to ensure that the agreed milestones were attained.

“Our desire to secure assistance for all the power distribution agencies in Ghana was strongly expressed,” he said, adding, “We are confident that through this compact Ghana’s power sector will witness a substantial improvement in performance.”

Mr Amissah-Arthur said the current mission of the MCC to Ghana had helped in sharpening the three projects, adding that “discussions are ongoing”.

“We are tasking all teams to work towards this. The  government is desirous of finding real and permanent solutions to the problems in the power sector,” he said.

He said the time had come for bold and decisive actions to be taken on that and asked the participants to rise above the challenge and work together with the team to ensure success.

“This meeting is to confirm the commitment of the government of Ghana and stakeholders in the power sector to work towards this goal.

You, as leaders in the power sector, may be beneficiaries of Ghana’s second compact,” he said.

The acting Vice-President of the MCC in charge of Compact Operation, Mr Jonathan Bloom, said utilities were fundamental to building the energy sector, adding, “We have a clear mind in dealing with you.”

By Timothy Gobah/Daily Graphic/Ghana