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SADA blows GHS47 million on guinea fowl & afforestation

2013-03-25 21:42:52
This article has been read 672 times.

Members of Parliament are deeply divided over GHS47 million spent by the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) on guinea fowl and afforestation projects.

Giving a breakdown in the 2013 budget estimates of the office of government machinery, the Financial Committee of Parliament noted that GHS15 million went into the Guinea Fowl Project, while GHS32.298 million was spent on afforestation in 2012.

The combined expenditure on the two projects is almost one fifth of the 2013 budget for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

In Parliament today, some MPs demanded that SADA provide evidence of the projects and also justify why such a colossal amount was spent on guinea fowl and afforestation projects.

MP for Effutu and MP’s Finance Committee, Alex Afenyo-Markin, who led the charge, said no one is against government investing in the northern part of Ghana through SADA to alleviate poverty, but specifics would have to be provided to show that they are “proper investment without diversion and also yielding positive results”.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story on Monday, Mr Afenyo-Markin charged government to be “transparent and consistent” with what the money was used for in terms of equipment, human resources among others.

The MP reiterated that he believed in the need to bridge the development gap between the north and south, however, “we don’t want the government to come and tell us we have done this, we have done that without any evidence”.

But Chief Executive of SADA, Gilbert Iddi told Joy News he was surprised about the questions raised by the MP, saying the MP failed to ask those questions to attract the “appropriate answers” when he appeared before the Finance Committee of Parliament.

Touching on afforestation, Mr Idi said the project has in partnership with ACI Construction Company given employment to about 50,000 people, and was confident the project would yield dividend.

“I would love to take [Parliamentarians] round to show whether the trees have been planted or not,” he said. He said 5 million seedlings were grown for the project.

On the guinea fowl project, he said SADA has established a joint venture with Asongtaba Cottage Industry, which he said the GHS15 million was used to acquire 40 per cent shares in that venture. The company contributed GHS25 million to get a majority share of 60 per cent.

He said they have so far acquired hatchery, lands and other necessary facilities to implement the project.

“It is to establish farm centres in the five regional capitals in the SADA zone, establish farms in all the regions, establish farms in the district. And the report I have received is that they have so far acquired the lands for all the five regions, they have designed the bill of quantities for the establishment of the houses in order to house the equipment that would do the processing and cold storage of the guinea fowl," he said.

Meanwhile, Edward Karewe, Deputy General Secretary of the Agriculture Workers Union, a farmer himself who does a lot of work in the Northern and Upper Regions, indicated on Top Story that investing GHS15 million in the guinea fowl project was justified.

He explained that investing in guinea fowls is an area you may have to consider when you want to reduce poverty in northern Ghana. He said almost every household has guinea fowls, which he said is a delicacy up north with short gestation period, ready market, and the weather there too is conducive for the poultry.

In all, according to the Finance Committee of Parliament, government released an amount of GHS165,000,000.00 in 2012 for SADA’s investment activities, but spent GHS91,247,000.00.


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