The World Bank Country Director, Pierre Laporte, has indicated that the bank could be forced to cut or review funding for some of government’s social intervention programmes.
According to him, the Bank can take such measures if proposed reforms are not taken on board as part of the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme review of Ghana’s policies.
Mr. Laporte explained that funds meant for the country specific programmescannot be returned to the World Bank.
“We will look at the option of re-assigning the funds to another project in Ghana. At the country office, we don’t send monies back to Washington DC USA. We will just move the money to a pool for the country”, he added.
Mr. Laporte disclosed this on PM Express Edition with host, George Wiafe on the June 1, 2023.
Stressing on accountability, he argued that it is important for funds provided by the World Bank to be used for the purpose for which monies are advanced for.
He said that the World Bank has been talking directly with the Ministry of Finance and local government officials about the School Feeding Programme.
He added that issues of transparency are key to making the project a success.
“If government fails to implement these reforms we will move the funds to the pool for other projects, because these disbursement are for the country” he warned.
Mr. Laporte pointed out challenges such as governance issues, accountability and fairness must be addressed
“We believe that programmes like the Free SHS programme, School Feeding Programme should be reviewed. The World Bank has already made some proposals”, he added.
According to government, some of its social intervention programmes are being reviewed.
The IMF in its staff report raised issues about the implementation processes of the programme.
Ghana’s IMF programme and the World Bank
Mr. Laporte applauded Ghana for taken the decision to go the IMF.
“I strongly believe that if Ghana sticks to the proposed reforms under the programme, it will indeed help bring about the needed recovery”,
He advised that government to freely participate in the programme by taking the difficult decisions.
“When I read the IMF programme, I strongly believe that it has what it takes to help restructure the economy if it’s well implemented”.
Energy sector challenges
Expressing disappointment over Ghana’s energy sector, Mr. Laporte disclosed that even though there is some funds to help the sector, government has refused to access it.
“There is currently a $300 million facility that seeks to provide technical support to government when it comes to the energy sector. However it appears government is not interested”, he said.
Mr. Laporte also bemoaned the manner in which Ghana’s power purchase agreements were implemented.
“There are serious issues with the power purchase agreement that has been signed especially when it comes to the take or pay portions of the Power Purchase Agreement and something has to be done about it”.
“The Energy sector is costing government over ¢1 billion, while collections are also poor and there are serious issues with the power purchased agreement reached by government” he added.
Mr. Laporte blamed the power sector challenges on the recent tariff increment.
“It is the reasons why you have seen tariffs increase because Ghana is selling power to consumers lower than production cost”.
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