Ghana: Implementation of One Million Dollars Per Constituency - Matters Arising

The government has issued commencement certificates to the Northern Development, Coastal Development and the Middle Belt Development authorities, for the execution of development projects.

The certificates cover $275 million for the 275 constituencies in the country, and an outstanding amount of $45 million, for the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP).

The government, through the Development Authorities Act, Act 963, which received presidential assent in January 2018, established these authorities, to administer the One Million Dollars Per Constituency policy.

Clearly, this is a giant step by government to execute the policy, promised the people of Ghana during the 2016 General Election, to alleviate poverty, especially in the rural communities throughout the country, and to bridge the development gap between geographical areas, to ensure an inclusive society.

The IPEP also seeks to provide drainage system, footbridges, community town centres, reshape roads, renovate schools, provision of desks to schools, to mention but a few.

Successive governments have come under severe criticisms for siting projects for the sake of political expediency, without actually considering the development needs of the people.

However, what is good about the IPEP is that needs assessment had been carried out to determine other basic infrastructure needs of the people, so that the initiative can take care of other pressing issues affecting the people.

The bottom-up approach is a desirable development strategy, because it gives people in communities the chance to take their destinies into their hands, by freely identifying their needs and priorities, for the government to address.

Undeniably, this would lead to better development outcomes, as against the top-down approach to development, a situation in which officialdom push down projects to the people without taking into account their concerns.

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, recently clarified that the government may not be able, at the end of its four-year term, advance all the $4 million per constituency, as promised.

He reportedly told journalists at Parliament that "We are of the view that we can honestly go back to the people of Ghana, and say that we promised $4 million... but out of the $4 million, we have delivered $2 point something million."

He 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."

This is a mark of political honesty and ingenuity! Manifestos are not cast in concrete, and it is not out of place, for a government to review its policy, once it is done in good faith.

It is very difficult for any government to achieve all its development objectives, which calls for prioritisation of needs and the judicious use of resources, to provide basic needs of the people.

But, we believe that with available resources under the IPEP, and other targeted projects under the District Assemblies Common Fund, Ghana Education Fund and other donor supported projects, we should be close to satisfying the basic needs of the people, to improve their wellbeing.

Ghanaian Times, in the midst of all these, draws the public's attention to the Auditor-General's reports that have over the years, pointed to shoddy execution of government projects.

This requires professionalism and good faith on the part of contractors and supervisors, to guarantee proper execution of projects, to ensure value for money.

Additionally, officials who fail to effectively carry out their roles when it comes to the implementation of government projects must be punished to serve as a deterrent.

We should all get on board and support the IPEP to succeed, to make our lives much better!

This is another opportunity for us to ensure equitable distribution of the country's limited resources.

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