General News of Thursday, 29 November 2018
The Minority in parliament is demanding the scraping of the Ministry of Special Development Initiative, arguing the work of the said ministry created by president Nana Akufo-Addo conflicts with that of the various local assemblies in the country.
The minority MPs have thus vowed not to approve the 1.5 billion-cedi 2019 budgetary allocation to the said Ministry.
“We on this side will not support any statutory allocation or appropriation to that ministry and we will not because the creation of that ministry…is creating conflict with the established development authorities of the president,” Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu stated.
President Akufo-Addo created the Ministry of Special Development Initiative on assumption of office in 2017 to primarily direct the operations of the three development authorities; Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern development authorities.
The Development Authorities created by an Act of parliament will be responsible for the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradicate Programme (IPEP), and oversee the disbursement of the yearly one million dollar per constituency and infrastructural development to stimulate economic growth.
However, concluding the parliamentary debate on the 2019 budget before its approval Thursday, Mr. Haruna argued the Ministry’s roles are within the purview of the three development authorities and the local assemblies.
He contended that the one million dollar per constituency is something that “must not be expended by a minister sitting at the flagstaff house in the name of a Ministry of Special Initiative.
In his view, amount must be expended by a District Assembly or a Development Authority, and that the current structure should not be allowed to continue, hence “must be resolved”.
Consequently, Mr. Iddrisu wants the Ministry of Special Development Initiative merged with Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation, else they will not approve of any allocation to the Special Development Initiative Ministry.
“You can use your numbers as majority government to do so. We want the president development authorities to function and function effectively” he added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Special Development Initiative, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has rejected the minority leader’s claim, stating he is only “throwing dust into the eyes of the people” because his argument does not wash.
For the Minister, her ministry cannot be said to be in conflict with the work of the district assemblies and the development authorities, pointing out that her ministry is only complementing the work of the district assemblies.
She argued the assemblies have been in existent for years yet there are infrastructural deficit in the area of provision of toilet facilities and water.
“How many years have the district assemblies been in existence? So if Ministry of Special Development Initiative through the development authorities is coming up with an initiative to complement with this project what is wrong is that?” she asked.
She added: “We are not duplicating; the thing is not there and we are doing it. We are complementing the work of the assembly”.
But notwithstanding, deputy minority chief whip, Ahmed Ibrahim said they will demand accountability of the various ministries, especially the Special Development Initiative Ministry.