Govt set to fulfil 1 constituency $1m dollars promise – Minister

Mrs. Hawa Koomson  briefing the press.Photo;Mercy Amparbeng

Mrs. Hawa Koomson briefing the press.

The Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson has stated that government was in the process of making good its promise on the (one million dollars GH4million) per constituency.

According to her the Ministry of Finance had so far released GHc927million out of the GHc1.2billion budgeted under the 2018 fiscal year and same disbursed under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP).

Out of the figure, GH¢159, 000,000 went into the construction of 570 small dams in the three Northern regions, GH¢96, 000,000 for the 50 unit 1000 metric tonnes prefabricated warehouses and GH¢180, 000,000 for the 1,000 community-based water systems.

In addition, an amount of GH¢133, 000,000 was allocated for the construction of 1000 ten-seater Water Closet Institutional Facility.

Taking her turn at the Meet the Press Series organised by the Ministry for Information, Mrs Koomson said the priority areas under the IPEP included: the One-Village-One-dam, the Agricultural Infrastructure, Water for All and the Sanitation Projects as well.

She said the amount was not intended to be given to the constituencies as physical cash as had erroneously been portrayed, but was meant to execute projects identified as priority areas by government and the respective constituencies.

“IPEP is a new development approach designed to help eradicate poverty and address the various forms of inequalities and under this, each of the 275 constituencies has been allocated the cedi equivalent of $1million,” she added.

The Minister said under the government priority projects, the IPEP was undertaking a total of 1,000 community-based water systems, 1000 ten-seater water closet institutional facility, 50 units 1000 metric tonne warehouses, 570 small dams and one ambulance per constituency.

She explained that the IPEP under the Northern Development Authority had undertaken a total of 1,151 projects, while the Middle Belt Development Authority had undertaken 691 projects with the Coastal Development Authority undertaking 781 projects.

Mrs Koomson said the Water for All initiative was meant to increase access to clean water, while the Sanitation for All Initiative was to increase access to good sanitation and the one district one warehouse initiative aimed at reducing post-harvest losses among small holder farmers.

On the One Village One Dam Initiative, she said it was intended to provide all-year round availability of water for small holder farming and livestock watering.

The Minister who was upbeat about delivering on her mandate explained that all projects under the various initiatives were about 85 per cent completed and would be handed over to the ministry by the close of the year.

She noted that even though some amount under the same promise was allocated to the Ministry under the 2017 fiscal year, her outfit was unable to utilise the monies due to the absence of the development authorities who were to act as the vehicles for the implementation of those projects which meant that those monies could not be utilised and had to go back into government chest.

“Let me say here again that the One Million-One Constituency is not a statutory fund therefore once we are unable to utilise it, the Ministry of Finance would have to retire it and that was exactly what happened to the amount budgeted for 2017. However, where a project has already been awarded on contract then the money would be ring-fenced for that particular purpose,” she emphasized.

Touching on former President John Dramani Mahama’s claim that government had failed on its promise to build a dam in each village in northern Ghana, she said “if the former President cared to know where the dams are, he could call me on telephone and I will personally take him to where those dams are located.”

By Cliff Ekuful

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