Mr Andrew Mitchell, UK International Development Secretary, has announced a new programme of general budget support, which would provide up to GH₵165 million (£60 million) in grants to Ghana.
Under the facility, Ghana for the next four years would receive the grants directly into the national budget.
The programme has been agreed in order to boost government’s continuing efforts to deliver health, education, water and other services to all Ghanaians, facilitate investment by the private sector to create jobs, and improve the effectiveness and accountability of government operations through improved public financial management.
This was contained in a release issued by Ms Patience Folley, Communications Officer, British High Commission in Accra, on Monday.
“Over the next four years the Government has set itself targets of reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Ghana – including reducing maternal and child mortality – maintaining macroeconomic stability, and improving governance, institutions and accountability.
“The Government has also committed to improving public financial management, fighting corruption and respecting human rights and democratic principles. This programme of support will assist the government to meet these targets and commitments.”
It said the new general budget support programme was part of the wider UK programme of assistance to Ghana, the plans for which were published last year.
“This sets out levels of general budget support that reduce over the four-year period, from £25 million (GH₵69 million) this year, to £15 million (GH₵41 million) in 2013, and £10 million (GH₵27 million) in 2014 and in 2015.
“This steady reduction reflects Ghana’s growing ability to secure funds from alternative sources, including from increased tax revenues, oil revenues, and international investment flows.
“However, at the same time, total financial support from the UK is scheduled to rise, from £85 million (GH₵233 million) this year to £100 million (GH₵274 million) in 2015, with an increasing focus on tackling the issues that will underpin Ghana’s transition to a solidly middle-income country and a time when overseas aid will cease.”
The first payment under the new general budget support programme was made last month, and together with contributions earmarked for the health and education sectors the UK has provided a total of almost GH₵100 million in budget support grants to Ghana in the first quarter of this year.
In addition to GH₵34 million provided as the first tranche of general budget support to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, GH₵41 million has been provided directly to the Ministry of Education, focusing on key priorities such as increasing the number of trained teachers, providing textbooks for children, and increasing the number of girls attending school, and GH₵22 million has been provided to the Ministry of Health to help, for instance, in tackling issues around reproductive health to improve the lives of women and girls.