The General Manager of the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), Ms Hamdiya Ismaila, has said financing of infrastructure development can be boosted if municipal assemblies are allowed to issue bonds.
She explained that the issuance of municipal bonds by the assemblies, which had the capacity to do so, would ensure that there were funds readily available to finance infrastructure in the communities.
Speaking in an interview after a forum on financing sustainable Ghanaian cities by Impact Investing Ghana, Ms Ismaila noted that there was the need to provide the legal framework for the municipal assemblies to be able to do this.
“If each municipal assembly is able to issue its own bonds, it essentially means that each municipality is going to borrow money to do things that are good for the community and the society at large and they will pay back.
“They need to have the capacity to do so and one way is to have a law backing it.
Sometime ago, we were working on the Municipal Finance Bill to give the legal backing but it was never passed,” she stated.
She explained that it was important to go back to the drawing board to assess what went wrong with the Bill considering the role that issuing municipal bonds could play for sustainable infrastructure financing.
The forum brought together city authorities, entrepreneurs, as well as impact investors, to discuss the issues of how to finance development in a different way concentrating on the cities.
It was also to look at how the cities in the country could be sustainable in terms of financing the infrastructure.
“For a city to be smart and sustainable, you should be able to connect the dots and that is why we brought together players to discuss and connect,” Ms Ismaila said.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oasis Capital Ghana Limited, Mr Mathew Boadu Adjei, reiterated the need for a master plan that would guide the development of infrastructure in the country.
The Immediate Past Presiding Member of the Ga Central Municipal Assembly, Mr Sheriff Fatah, said development must be channelled and managed at the assembly level; hence, the need to look at the assemblies seriously.
“If we actually have to sustain development, then we have to look at cutting waste at the district level,” he said.
Recounting what the assembly had done to improve waste management, he said there was a project to convert waste generated in the assembly to energy in collaboration with a company from Finland.
He said that when started, there would be a lot of sanity in terms of making the environment clean and it would extend to other assemblies to get enough waste to fire the cylinders for power generation.
The Provost of the College of Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Mark Adom-Asamoah, stated that there were four basic characteristics of sustainable cities.
He said they must be decent, affordable, adequate and healthy and the College of Engineering was, therefore, training its students to put the four factors to use.