“Give 1m 1 constituency money to MMDAs”
A Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor has urged government to ensure that the one-million one- district progamme is managed by the Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and not the constituencies.
The Finance Minister in his budget statement noted that under that Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme(IPEP),every one of the country’s 275 constituencies will be allocated the equivalent of US$1million(GH?4.39m)annually.
According to him, the fund will be targeted at improving the livelihood of Ghanaians in rural areas, by providing them with sustainable jobs.
However the MP explained that; “It is avoidable, just give the money to the MMDAs, they are already established. They have the structures. They disburse the Common Fund anyway, so just add this Fund to it, then you get a thumbs up, but when you say you are going to give the money to the constituency, most of the Municipalities or Assemblies have two constituencies anyway and for example- the AMA is home to about 10 constituencies, so they will be getting US$10m equivalent.
But the case is this, where we have a problem is that the constituencies are a political creation, they are created for the purpose of political activities, elections, so they are controlled by political structures…so who will be managing these funds?, he asked.
He also added that “cleverly they came back to say that the management of the fund will be placed in the hands of a special body that will be established or a commission to oversee the membership. We must ensure that the membership is not politically tainted, otherwise it will come back to our argument that it is a scheme to place money in the hands of political apparatchiks will be founded.”
Further he also cautioned government not to hand money to party people, and since this programme is tied to the one-district one-factory project and also wondered whether the money will be sufficient based on the district’s needs.
According to the MP, the budget was also silent on the timeframe or period for the disbursement of the money, whether it is annually or the first term of the President.
The one-district one-factory policy programme was one of the major campaign promises of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the December 2016 general elections.
By the budget statement, the US$1m to the 275 constituencies will fall in categories including the one-district one-factory, one-village one-dam, small business development, agricultural inputs, including equipment, water for all projects and sanitation projects.
The party, led by President Akufo-Addo, said it was optimistic it will help reduce unemployment in the country.