GOVERNMENT at the end of its four-year mandate will not be able to advance the Ghana Cedi equivalent of $4 million per constituency as promised, Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has said.
He explained that for the first two years of the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government, steps were being taken to administer the $1 million per constituency annually, as promised in the run-up to the 2016 General Election.
“By the end of four years, instead of the $4 million cedi equivalent, God willing, you would have seen $2 point something million released,” Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said.
“We are of the view that we can honestly go back to the people of Ghana and say that we promised $4 million, our colleagues on the other side promised zero. They said it wasn’t possible, but out of the $4 million, we have delivered $2 point something million.
“If you had them [opposition], they would have delivered zero by now and we believe that as we go further, now that the resources have improved, we are able to continue funding these priority projects,” the minister said.
Mr Oppong-Nkrumah was speaking with journalists in Parliament yesterday, following the release of GH¢1.664 billion for the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Project (IPEP).
The New Patriotic Party, in the run-up to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, promised to give each of the 275 constituencies the Ghana Cedi equivalent of US$1 million dollars a year, to address local infrastructure challenges as part of a bottom-up approach to development.
In this regard, the Government, through the Development Authorities Act, Act 963 which received presidential assent in January 2018, established the Northern, Middle Belt and Coastal Development Authorities, to administer the $1 million per constituency policy.
As a result of the administrative bureaucracies, the Development Authorities could not fully start with the implementation of the programme, leaving the implementation at the domain of the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives for 2018.
Government, however, over the weekend, as reported by the Ghanaian Times yesterday, said it had released the GH¢1.664 billion for the implementation of the IPEP with additional $45 million in outstanding commitment.
The release, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah, who is also the Ofoase/Ayirebi Member of Parliament (MP), said “is good news for our various constituencies in the country.”
He said that per the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), Act 921, for infrastructure programmes, like the ones under the IPEP, commencement certificate needed to be given for contractors to move to site, get the job done and have their work certified for payments.
The minister explained that “cash is not sent to any constituency. What has happened is that the Finance Ministry has given the commencement certificate for the $275 million Ghana Cedi equivalent for the three Development Authorities for them to actually go ahead and give the contracts.”
Responding to claims by Minority MPs that they have no knowledge about projects undertaken by the Special Initiative Development Ministry in their constituencies, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said it was not for his colleagues to sit in their comfort zones and expect the Development Authorities to initiate consultations.
“I went round my constituency with my District Chief Executive (DCE) and the leadership of the party to get an understanding of the kind of projects that our people require, and we are engaging the Development Authorities with it. I don’t see what stops any other MP from doing same.
“The responsibility is on you the MP to engage on what the needs of your people are and make them available to the Development Authorities. If you want to sit by and wait, as an MP or a local leader who knows the needs of your people, I think you will not be serving them well,” Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI