Ghana Gov’t to speed up disbursement of WB funds to SMEs

The Minister of State for Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto has said the 45 million US dollars funds provided by the World Bank (WB) for Small Medium Scale Enterprise (SMSEs) in the country, is expected to be disbursed before the end of the year.

The Minister of State made this disclosure to The Chronicle in an exclusive interview in Accra. According to Dr. Osei, before the year comes to an end, $US2 million would be disbursed to the sector bringing to a total of $US7 million being disbursed to the sector this year.

“It was unfortunate that there has been some misunderstanding and remarks from the WB representative, accusing government of not disbursing the funds as expected”, the Minister added. He admitted that there was misinformation which caused confusion between the WB representative and the Ministry of Trade and Industry as to why the 45 million was not disbursed at a fast rate as prescribed by the WB.

“Henceforth, the government would be informing representative of the WB on any amount which has been disbursed to the sector, so as to prevent such confusion next time”, said Mr. Osei.

On her part, the Country Manager of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Madam Imoni Akpofure has stated that the confusion that led to the delay of the disbursement of the WB’s funds to the SME sector would be fast tracked to improve business in that sector of the economy.

She said there is a major economic crisis in the economy as a result of the absence of domestic and global credit for SMEs, adding that financial institutions in the country are not willing to risk lending to new companies in the sector.

It would be recall that some few months ago government and the WB officials were caught in a net of accusations and counter accusations over the mystery surrounding the $US41 million, which is alleged to have been misappropriated by the government.

Information made available to the paper suggest that the disbursement on the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Project for the third quarter of this year was $5.6 million rather than the $4 million as alleged by the WB some time ago.

The paper gathered that as at the third quarter of the year, MSMEs notably July, August and September recorded a disbursement of $1.147 million, $201,000 and $217,000 respectively.

Source: The Chronicle

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