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Regional News Thu, 21 Jun 2007

Flaws in the choosing MCA districts in NR - MCE

Tamale, June 21, GNA- Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam, the Mayor of Tamale on Wednesday said the criterion used by the Millennium Challenge Authority (MiDA) to qualify certain districts in the Northern region as beneficiaries of the Millennium Challenge Account had some fundamental flaws.

He explained that the Authority used the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC) a South African company operating in the Northern Region as basis, which would not benefit all people in the region. "How do you use a foreign commodity as basis to give aid while there were sorghum, shea products, groundnuts and millet, which were farmer friendly to all citizens of the North," he said, He said the shea industry alone could reduce poverty more than any other commodity if it was given proper attention. Mr. Adam raised these concerns in Tamale at a two-day participatory Monitoring and Evaluation workshop of the MCA programmes in the Northern Region.

The Concerned Citizens Association of Tamale (CCAT) in collaboration with the Ghanaian Developing Communities Association (GDCA), a Tamale NGO organised the workshop. The purpose was to see how best stakeholders in development could help in making the MCA programme in Ghana a success and to ensure that participants understood the programme's aims and objectives to help the communities with the right messages.

Mr. Adam said any intervention in the country aimed at reducing poverty in Northern Ghana without considering shea nuts was bound to fail, saying, "A research indicates that there are more than nine million shea nut trees in the Northern Region alone, which needed to be given the necessary attention."

He said since independence efforts had been made to reduce poverty in the north, but ironically the north always received smaller chunk of the assistance that foreign donors give for the development of the north and that the situation needed to be reversed. Mr. Adam mentioned the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), where smaller amounts were channelled to the north, which could not help to achieve the needed change in poverty levels in the three northern regions.

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He said the MCA appeared to be the most organised intervention to help reduce poverty and stressed the need for proper monitoring and evaluation so that aids' coming to the north was not diverted. Mr. Adam called on the people of the north to work towards transforming agriculture and other infrastructure development to attract more investors to help reduce the poverty.

Mr. Bashiru Dabali, President of the CCAT said the people of the Northern Region were happy with the government for choosing a district there to benefit from the MCA.

He said after the launch of the Account in Savelugu in the Savelugu/Nanton District by President Kufuor in 2006, the CCAT had organised radio talk shows to educate the public on it and that it would continue to play the watchdog role to ensure that the programme succeeded.

Mr. Dabali advised the people to embrace the MCA package in good faith and should try to contribute their quota to its successful implementation in the country. Mr. Selasi Adjorlolo, Community and Outreach manager of MiDA stressed the importance of the public and stakeholders support in the monitoring and evaluation process to ensure that the programme yielded the desired results.

He announced that all Rural Banks in the country were automatic beneficiaries of the MCA and expressed the hope that the Banks' activities would impact positively on the lives of the people. Mr. Adjorlolo commended the CCTA for the workshop and urged them not to relent in their efforts since monitoring and evaluation was very important. 21 June 07

Source: GNA
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