The Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a civil society organization, has commended the government for terminating the guinea fowl and forestation contracts between the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority(SADA) and the Asongtaaba Cottage Industries (ACI).
A statement signed by the NORPRA President, Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, and copied to the GNA in Bolgatanga said mere termination of the contracts without taking steps to retrieve all the funds doled out to ACI would not only be a meaningless exercise but also a lack of practical commitment to the fight against corruption.
It said SADA was a well thought-through pro-poor programme that had the potential of not only reducing poverty and unemployment levels in significant proportions in northern Ghana but also through its afforestation project capable of dealing with climate change in the savannah area in particular and the country as a whole.
The statement said policy makers who equally knew that ACI had no single track record in guinea fowl production and forestation but went ahead to facilitate the process of awarding the contracts should also be sanctioned for causing financial losses to the state.
“The fact that the SADA board failed in its core mandate to establish appropriate systems and mechanisms for the monitoring and supervision of these projects to ensure that the state receives value for money makes its continuous stay in office very questionable,” it said.
The statement said if President John Dramani Mahama personally was committed to fighting corruption, it should reflect his government’s ideals in the fight against the canker and justify it by demonstrating pragmatic and concrete measurable actions to immediately ensure that every single pesewa spent on the guinea fowl and forestation projects was properly accounted for.
It welcomed government’s decision to involve the Forestry Commission and the University for Development Studies, institutions with very remarkable capacity and unquestionable expertise, to deal with the socio-economic development challenges of the savannah ecological zone.
It called on government to ensure that SADA was transformed and positioned well with a new image that would rekindle and restore the hope of people living in the ecological zone by improving upon their livelihoods.