General News of Friday, 27 February 2015
President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday expressed government’s determination to step up infrastructural development in the coming years.
“While we continue to build more hospitals and schools, other critical sectors such as water, roads, transport, ICT and Telecommunication sectors continue to engage our attention. Development of key infrastructure is not only for job creation but also for general socio-economic transformation.”
President Mahama, who was delivering his third state of the nation adders on the floor of parliament, said it was estimated that Ghana suffers an infrastructural funding gap of about US$1.5 billion a year.
“While creating conducive environment for the private sector to participate in infrastructure development, government in 2014 took a decisive step and started the process for the establishment of a Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).”
He said the Fund which is financed by receipts from a VAT levy and contributions from tax, which has a funding mechanism already approved by Parliament, 2.5 per cent of VAT receipts, The GIIF would serve as a vehicle to mobilize resources to scale-up the development of critical infrastructure in the country.
President Mahama said it will also help in the implementation of a more sustainable debt management strategy, which would focus on viable commercial projects with appreciable return on investment and repayment mechanisms through escrows and debt service accounts.
The President said with the GIIF, government would reduce the funding gap for infrastructure projects considerably and execute projects needed to help drive desired growth as a lower middle-income country.
“We have spent in excess of US$1.1 billion on the construction of new water systems, and expansion of some existing ones across the country.
“Water is a basic necessity of life, yet for many decades, vast sections of our people had no access to it, contributing to the spread of water-related diseases.”
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) after evaluating Ghana last year, revealed the country had successfully eradicated the Guinea worm disease and the authorities were waiting for the appropriate certification to that effect.
“We have over the last two years reversed significantly the unacceptable hardship many of our women and children, especially, go through in their search for water.”
President Mahama said across the length and breadth of the country, various water projects are ongoing and others are at various stages of completion and by the end of this year, coverage would be76 per cent of the entire country, both rural and urban areas with good drinking water.
“This is in fulfillment of the prescriptions of the National Water Policy and the work programme of the 2012 Manifesto of the NDC, which seeks to achieve 100 per cent water coverage for our people by 2025.”