General News of Mon, 15 Jul 20027
IFC is a consortium of reputable companies -Osafo-Maafo
...HIPC does not bar us from taking loans...
THE Minister of Finance, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo has stated categorically that the adoption of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative by Ghana does not debar the country from taking any loan.
Reacting to wrong impressions created by a section of the media that the HIPC initiative prohibits beneficiaries from accruing up more debts, the minister said the loan agreement between the government and the International Financial Consortium (IFC) shows the level of confidence the international community has in the programme to revive the economy.
Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking to the Parliamentary Press Corps last Friday night shortly after Parliament had approved the $350 million loan from the IFC for infrastructural development in the country.
He said the loan is significant because it is the largest loan to be given to the country from the private sector.
The Finance Minister explained that the IFC is a consortium of reputable companies with varying backgrounds.
He said the loan is a concessionary one and it comes from the profits of these large corporate bodies which form the consortium, adding that ?these firms are more committed to the provision of social amenities?.
He said Ghana is not the only country the IFC has granted such a credit facility. He mentioned South Africa and some countries in Eastern Europe as beneficiaries of IFC loans.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said a trust, made up of seven members, four to be appointed by the government of Ghana and three by the IFC, will manage the resources, adding that ?the chairman of the trust will be appointed by the Government of Ghana?. He gave the assurance that the loan will be used for the intended purpose and welcomed suggestions from economists and those with expertise on its utilisation.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the problem facing the country in respect of such transactions has been procurement and that this time round procurement will be made transparent in order for the country to have value for money.
On his part, the Senior Minister, Mr J. H. Mensah, indicated that the loan agreement with the IFC does not mean that the government has lost confidence in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Mr Mensah said Ghana will host an international investment conference to be organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in November, this year.
He said the decision to take advantage of the IFC loan is in the best interest of the country under the present circumstances where most infrastructure are in very deplorable conditions.
Meanwhile, Parliament has gone on recess to reconvene on October 15, 2002. In his remarks, the Speaker, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey commended the MPs for their hard work, efficiency and perseverance which enabled the House to accomplish its schedule and expressed the hope that they will continue to work efficiently for the betterment of the nation.