Government has been urged to probe the use of a US$500 million facility contracted from the Brazilian government in 2008, to support two strategic development projects of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
The Executive Secretary of the Coalition of SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations, Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, who made the appeal yesterday at a press conference in Accra, questioned the whereabouts of the amount, alleging that the money never got into the accounts of the SADA for the projects to be executed.
He accused the past government for misappropriating the facility and diverting a chunk of it to construct the Eastern Corridor Road though the money was meant to improve living conditions of people living the northern part of the country.
According to Mr. Ayorogo, the loan approved by parliament in November, 2008, was intended to construct the Pwalugu Multi-Purposed Dam in Upper East Region and another one in Juale in the Northern Region to boost agriculture for the five Northern regions.
“The loan was received by the government in 2009 and up to date, there is no work on site,” he lamented and called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to “demonstrate his transparent and accountable leadership style by taking up the issue seriously for Ghanaians to know what those funds have been used for.”
Mr. Ayorogo further called on the government to investigate and retrieve alleged misappropriation and mismanagement of funds under the immediate past leadership of SADA and requested that the new management of SADA be provided with necessary support to carry out its mandated responsibilities.
He also underscored the need for government to, as a matter of urgency, resource SADA as required by law through the allocation of not less than GH¢54 million annually to enhance its operations.
“Nana Addo administration will be hailed and glorified if he respected the SADA law passed by Ghanaian parliament in 2010 by making enough budgetary allocation to SADA in the first budget statement and economic policies,” he said.
Making a reference to infrastructural prospects of the northern regions by SADA, Mr. Ayorogo explained that only 15.6 per cent of a total of 8 million hectares of arable land was under cultivation in the SADA zone.
According to him, existing irrigation in that part of the country currently operated only one third of their capacity and irrigating less than a per cent of the area under cultivation.
Mr. Ayorogo therefore noted that government through SADA could take advantage of the enormous potentials in the regions and develop it for the livelihoods of people living there.
For government to demonstrate its commitment to the one district, one factory policy in the SADA zone, he said, it must revamp all defunct factories while establishing new ones, the executive secretary of the Coalition of SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations said.
He thus called on the President to give a face-lift to the three famous agro-based industries namely the Northern Star Tomato Factory, Bolgatanga Rice Mill and Meat Factory to show good faith in resuscitating SADA.
Mr. Ayorogo condemned the attack and subsequent seizure of the headquarters of SADA purported by supporters of the New Patriotic Party.
He called on the leadership of the party to impress on its supporters to desist from such act and be decorous in their conduct with political issues.
By Charles Amankwa