Last Tuesday, President John Mahama led a Ghanaian delegation to Washington DC to sign an agreement with the US government?s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for the release of the second compact of US498 million to Ghana.
The second compact has been signed after the successful utilisation of the first, under which US$547 million was provided for Ghana, which enabled the country to undertake projects like roads to support the agricultural sector, principal among them being the construction of the George Walker Bush (N1) Highway.
The amount is expected to be used to invest in projects focusing on power distribution, with US$308 million of the amount going into making the Electricity Company of Ghana a more viable service provider through the upgrade of its infrastructure to reduce power outages and generally improve service delivery.
One of the key constraints to the growth of industry in Ghana is the supply of regular and affordable power for uninterrupted production.
Many industries have had to contend with the high cost of electricity, whose supply has, in recent years, been very irregular, resulting in many industries producing at very low capacity or having to close down altogether.
That the country has been given a second compact after the implementation of the first points to the trust the US government has come to have in the country?s ability to manage funds provided for infrastructural projects.
The Daily Graphic is hopeful that at the full utilisation of the compact, there will be tremendous growth and opportunities for millions in Ghanaian homes, schools, hospitals and, above all, industry.
One of the key issues that were of concern to many Ghanaians in the implementation of the first compact was the rush that the construction of the N1 Highway had to go through in its final stages. Indeed, pundits have noted that the issues of insufficient and inappropriate pedestrian crossings that have resulted in needless deaths on the highway could have been prevented if the implementation of the project had been well planned.
Fortunately, Ghana already has a Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) in place and the announcement by the Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper, that the current management of MiDA would be reorganised to make up a new management structure to suit new projects to be undertaken is a step in the right direction.
This should be done as swiftly as practicable, since any delay in reorganising the authority may push back work on the projects under the second compact. This is because we understand that Ghana has between three and four years to access the fund and use it for the intended projects.
With the completion of the Atuabo gas plant and other projects in the energy sector, it is our expectation that by the end of the implementation of the second compact the current energy requirement of about 2,000 megawatts would be sufficiently taken care of and the era of power rationing, which has been a big drawback to businesses, will be a thing of the past.
Industry and the whole of Ghana can then improve their status among their peers and we can appropriately refer to ourselves as a middle-income country.
Daily Graphic? Thursday, 07 August 2014