US$1m per constituency to close infrastructure gap – Minister

Mavis Hawa Koomson

The US$1m per constituency initiative will focus on delivering key infrastructure like school buildings, ambulances, markets, and bridges to the various constituencies in the country, Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has said.

The ministry is gearing up to undertake an Infrastructure for Development Programme to provide basic economic infrastructure in various communities in the 275 constituencies.

Under the programme, 50 grain and cereal warehouses are expected to be constructed, 50 micro enterprises would also be established, whilst 100 dugouts and small dams would be constructed and 115 markets constructed.

The minister explained to the B&FT in an interview that: “The 1m per constituency is not coming to the constituency as the Common Fund does come; we are going to use it on infrastructure projects. So, we need to know the needs of the constituency, then we will allow them to come and do it.”

To ensure proper accountability, she said, the monies will not be handed over to the constituencies, but will be attached to specific projects.

“When we bring the money into the constituency, who is going to take care of it? Is it the MP? How is he going to account for it? But because we want to do proper accounting, we want to make sure that we get the project that the constituency actually requested and then we go and do it for them.”

As part of Government efforts to accelerate economic development and create jobs in the country, the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives was established.

The goal of the ministry is to accelerate socio-economic development and ensure balanced development at the constituency level through three Development Authorities.

In line with the National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework and the President’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies for 2018, the ministry would procure twenty 4WD vehicles, hire office accommodation for the Middle and Coastal Belts Development Authorities and regional offices, procure office logistics including computers, accessories, furniture and fittings.

Others include publication and dissemination of policies and programmes, facilitating the implementation of Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme(IPEP) and Training of personnel.

Parliament has, thus, approved GH₵1 billion for the ministry to enable it implement its programme of activities for the 2018 fiscal year.

The minister indicated that She said under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme, six main programmes would be undertaken, namely: Water for All, Sanitation, Referral System Improvement in Communities, Educational Infrastructure in Communities and Constituency Specific Projects.

Under the Water for All Programme, about 1,000 mechanised boreholes would be constructed across the country to improve access to water, whilst the sanitation project will see the construction of 1000 institutional toilets.