Politics of Sunday, 1 March 2015
Source: Public Agenda
President John Dramani Mahama has indirectly revealed that he did not remove Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, from his Cabinet.
Reading the 2015 State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament Thursday, President Mahama jokingly mentioned Alhaji Dauda as one of the officials who were “born before computers” who must embrace Information Communication Technology (ICT) when the government provides ICT gadgets to them.
The President stated that when the ICT facilities were provided, Alhaji Dauda would sit in Cabinet meetings and work with a tablet, apparently forgetting that he was no longer a Cabinet Minister. And Members of Parliament (MPs) who were listening to him greeted his statement with rapturous laughter.
What is not a laughing matter, however, is that a recent statement emanating from the Office of the President relegated the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to the list of non-Cabinet Ministries such as Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts and Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The newly-created Ministry of Power, handled by Dr. Kwabena Donkor, replaced the Ministry which is headed by Alhaji Dauda.
The exclusion of Alhaji Dauda from Cabinet, and the inclusion of Dr. Donkor meets the constitutional cap of 19 Cabinet Ministers. But some experts and MPs wonder why such an all-important Ministry should be dropped from Cabinet.
Hon. David Oppon-Kusi, the ranking member of Water Resources, Works and Housing Committee, expressed dissatisfaction with the relegation of Alhaji Dauda, saying that President Mahama had his priorities wrong.
“I don’t understand why an important Ministry responsible for the provision of water, which is a basic necessity for every member of the community is dropped … I strongly believe there is more to Collins Dauda being dropped from the Cabinet,” Hon. Oppon-Kusi said.
In the SONA, President Mahama announced an increment in the energy tax and the introduction of a new tax, the ancillary services charge. The increased taxation did not sit well with the ranking member of the Finance Committee, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, who lamented in an interview with Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, after the SONA that Ghanaians were being over-taxed.
The President told MPs that he would not manage the current power shortage as past governments did.
“I do not intend to manage the situation as has been done in the past, I intend to fix it. I, John Dramani Mahama, will fix this energy challenge,” he was upbeat.
According to him, Ghana was suffering a deficit of about 1,000 megawatts (MW) due to broken down power plants and unreliable supply of gas from Nigeria.
He said the power shortage would be over by 2016, as he promised to add 3,665MW to generation.
This addition will total 6,665 MW installed capacity.
Giving details, the President said Asogli Phase 2 would add 350MW; power generation from coal would bring 750MW; CENIT would generate 350MW, and General Electric would provide 1,000MW.
He said the Volta River Authority (VRA) T4 would add 184MW and the Kpong plant would provide 220MW.
He said he would hold Dr. Donkor on his promise to solve the power crisis by December 2015.