Major Dr Mustapha Ahmed (Rtd), Minister of State in charge of Development Authorities has appealed to the Ministry of Finance to release the budgetary allocations to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to ensure execution of its projects.
He said the authority did not receive its budgetary allocation for the whole of 2013 and this year even though the first quarter had already gone saying, “This has left SADA in a dire situation”.
Dr Ahmed who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso North expressed the concern in Tamale on Monday during a meeting with SADA’s technical service providers.
The meeting, which was meant to chart a new model to improve the performance of the authorities’ projects, was attended by stakeholders from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions.
The minister blamed the delay in release of the funds partly on the negative media publications that the authority encountered last year and urged SADA to devise strategies to correct the negative media reports.
Dr Ahmed said SADA currently relied on its investment fund of GH₵163 million to carry out its activities especially with input supply and tractor services and explained that, “The money that is being delayed is the annual GH₵20 million funds promised for the accelerated development projects but other statutory funds have been made available”.
On the various allegations about financial impropriety, the minister said an audit that was carried out on the afforestation project revealed that there was about 80 per cent survival rate and that arguments on the guinea fowl project could simply not be tolerated since the project was still on its infant stages when the attacks started.
He, however, expressed the hope that those contracts that were abrogated were being reviewed to make them more expedient and transparent when they finally take off.
Dr Ahmed urged the technical service providers to play their roles professionally to ensure that SADA succeeded in its quest to develop the northern savannah zones.
Dr. Charles Jebuni, Acting Chief Executive Officer of SADA stated that the objective of the meeting was to develop strategies to increase productivity and reverse the development gap between the northern savannah ecological zone and the rest of the country.
He said even though the authority had been in full operation for few years, it has made positive impact by increasing yields to 3.2 metric tons as against a national average of 2.1 metric tons.
The CEO warned the service providers to take good care of SADA equipment especially the tractors to prolong their lives.
Dr. Jebuni expressed worry about the poor recovery rate among the providers and urged them to double their work to help make the authority succeed in its objective.