Ghana has signed a$180million credit agreement with the Exim Bank of India to provide machinery for Ghana’s agricultural sector and increase access to potable water in Yendi in the Northern Region.
Of the amount, $150million would be injected into the Agricultural Mechanisation Services Centres (AMSECs) project while $30million would go into the rehabilitation of Yendi Water Systems.
The credit facility comes with an interest rate of 1.50 per cent, a 20 year- repayment plan in addition to a five-year moratorium.
The agreement was signed in Accra on Friday by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and Mr PushpeshTyagi, a representative of the Exim Bank. It was witnessed by Mr Birender Singh Yadav, High Commissioner of India.
The arrangement of $150 million of the credit dedicated to the agriculture, which dates back to 2015, according to Mr Ofori-Atta, is the largest concessional loan that the Indian government has provided for the sector in Africa.
He explained that at least one AMSEC would be set up in each district to provide timely access to agricultural machinery and mechanised services to farming households who could not afford their own machinery.
Cottage industries and small factories, he said, would be set up for processing rice,maize and cassava, in addition to cottage machine shops for fabricating small-scale farm tools and equipment.
These, the Finance Minister said, would help scale–up commercial agriculture and also support the planting for food and jobs and the one-district-one factory programmes.
For the Yendi water project, Mr Ofori-Atta said more than 133,000 people would benefit,that would further the government’s policy of ensuring national access to potable water by 2030.
With the credit coming at a time the country is pursuing the Ghana beyond Aid agenda, he said the country would continue to welcome development aid within a new form of arrangement in which assistance would be targeted and aligned with national growth and economic priorities.
In line with the agenda, Mr Ofori-Atta said government was preparing a Ghana Development Cooperation Policy document to leverage on development cooperation.
He said that the bilateral trade between Ghana and India was showing favourable trends,as in 2017, exports to India increased in value from $1.5 billion in 2016 to $2.7 billion while imports in 2017 was $633.3million.
He thanked India for its contribution to the socio-economic development of the country through concessional and non-concessional facilities and hoped the relation would be sustained.
Mr Tyagi, Exim Bank representative, recounted the cordial relation that existed between Ghana and the bank and hoped that the credit would be used in a manner that would benefit Ghanaians.
For Mr Yadav, the Indian High Commissioner,his country’s relations with Africa was focused on building capabilities and helping the continent harness her potential to pursue its growth.
He said his country was expecting Ghana boost its agricultural sector with the facility adding that India would support Ghana in ways it could, to achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid motive.
(BY JONATHAN DONKOR)