An aide to the embattled Minister of Special Development Initiative, Nana Owusu Acheampong has risen to the defence of Madam Hawa Koomson who has come under a barrage of criticisms over a bloated budget submitted and approved by parliament.
Nana Owusu Acheampong who together with Mr Joseph Dome Chognuru, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr Manful Saka, Technical Advisor, Mr Eric Kwasi Baah, Principal Budget Analyst, Mrs Doris Agyepong, Deputy Director Finance and Administration and Mr Yusif Geofrey, Senior Accountant who accompanied the head of cost centre submitted the budget to the Finance Committee of Parliament has made some clarifications.
In a page response to the tongue-lashing by the public he said:” Having taken time to listen to the brouhaha on the budget of the Ministry of Special Development Initiative’s for 2018, it is imperative that below facts are put across, for the purpose of informing the good people of Ghana:
1. The Ministry has the mandate to oversee the Three Development Authorities; Coastal Development Authority, Middle Belt Development Authority, Northern Development Authority.
2. The entire budget estimates cover the three development authorities and the Ministry; the budget includes the development authorities because they are not fully set up. All funds allocated to the authorities will be managed by them. The allocation will be done pro-rata.
3. GHS 800,000 for the website development was an error. The figure was corrected as GHS 80,000 before the appropriation was passed. This amount will be used for development of four (4) websites for the three authorities and the ministry.
4. 20 vehicles estimated in the budget are to be shared amongst the three authorities and the Ministry. The ministry is not using all the 20 vehicles
5. The projects budgeted for are the outcome of assessed needs across the 275 constituencies.
6. The projects will be implemented by the development authorities when they become fully operational.
7. The Ministry is not just drilling ordinary boreholes, as being put across. But a sophisticated community based water system. Solar mechanised with reservoir tank, 10000 ltrs capacity, with a number of distribution points, amongst others. This system is capable of serving about 2400 people in a community per day. Completely different from the NDC/PURC boreholes, which can only serve a little over 1000 people per day.
8. UNICEF did similar projects, in 2016 at a cost of GHS167,000. MSDI estimates to spend about GHS 132,000. This is indeed protection of public purse.
9. The projects will be awarded through the competitive tendering process to ensure value for money. This may further push the cost down. Note that NDC /PURC sole sourced the 2012 boreholes.
10. The 10-seater institutional water closet toilet facility will have a
a. mechanised borehole
b. solar powered lighting system
c. water tank
d. Environmentally friendly bio-digester waste storage, which can generate bio-gas for domestic and other use.