The Parliamentary Finance Committee yesterday tabled a report on a Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and International Development Association (IDA) worth 50.3 million dollars to finance the West African Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP).
The credit is to finance the WARFP to sustainably increase the overall wealth for Ghana through the exploitation of its fisheries and aquatic resources.
The project seeks to strengthen Ghana’s capacity to sustainably govern and manage the fisheries sector, reduce illegal fishing and increase the value and profitability generated by fish resources and the proportion of that value captured by the country.
The Financing Agreement was laid before the Parliament on November 16, 2011 by the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and was referred to the Finance Committee for consideration.
The report, presented by the Finance Committee Chairman, James Klutse Avedzi, MP for Ketu North, stated that Ghana’s fisheries sub-sector hsd the potential to help the country meet its strategic objectives of doubling the economy within a decade and raising average income levels.
The report, however, noted that the objective will not materialise if over-exploitation of the sector and other challenges are not addressed.
The total cost of the WARFP is estimated at some 53.8 million dollars of which the World bank-IDA credit will finance a Special Drawing Rights of 31.1 million, an equivalent of the 50.3 million dollars, with the remaining 3.5 million dollars financed by the Global Environment Fund (GEF).
The Agreement has a grace period of 10 years, with a repayment period of 25 years. The maturity period of the Agreement has been pegged at 35 years, with a commitment charge of a maximum of 0.5 percent on an unwithdrawn balance.
The Agreement also attracts a Service Charge of 0.75 percent with a closing date of December 31, 2017.
The WARFP, which the report noted, is consistent with emerging consensus throughout West Africa that marine resources is making far smaller contribution to economic growth than they should, is expected to be implemented over a five-year period.
The WARFP is being implemented by nine coastal countries- Cape Verde, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Ghana and the Gambia – with funding from the World Bank and the GEF to help the countries to sustainably increase the wealth generated from the use of the marine fish resources.
The report said the WARFP will be “immensely beneficial to the country’s quest for improved governance and sustainable management of the country’s fisheries resources”.
It also said the Financing Agreement is consistent with the IDA’s concessional terms.