General News of Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo has commended President Akufo-Addo for visiting projects initiated by former President John Mahama and urged him to complete them as a sign of good governance.
The President is currently on a 7-day tour in the Northern regions as part of his nationwide tour.
In a statement released from the MP’s office Mr. Adongo outlined some projects which were commenced under the Mahama government but have been put on hold as a result of the latter’s end of tenure. Below is the full statement;
We wish to thank the President, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for including our constituency, Bolgatanga Central in his itinerary in the Upper East Region.
We are particularly thrilled that he will find time to visit projects that were initiated by H.E John Dramani Mahama. This underscores a good governance principle that requires a succeeding government to continue with projects that were initiated by the predecessor.
Some of these projects include the following:
Vea Dam Project
Rehabilitation of the 1,000 Vea Dam irrigation project begun under the leadership of John Dramani Mahama with funding secured from the World Bank (WB) and USAID under the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project known as GCAP.
The feasibility and Design works have already been completed, funding of USD 150m has also been secured through the World Bank and USAID by JM for this irrigation rehabilitation projects under the Ghana Commercial Agriculture project (GCAP). The design of the Vea dam rehabilitation was done by SMEC International now awaiting award of the works contract. We urge the president to continue this project for same good reasons that were contemplated by the past regime:
The 1000 acre irrigable land area will provide food security for small scale farming families for decades. Bolgatanga also depends significantly on the water pumped from this dam for commercial and household use.
The Bolgatanga Regional Hospital
This project has been envisaged as the major referral Hospital not only for the people of Upper East and its environs, but to make it a medical hub for the Sahelian Areas typically including Burkina Faso, Niger and even parts of Togo. We hasten to add that, funding was secured by JM from the Saudi Government for the provision of state of the art equipment for the hospital.
Part of the long-term vison was also to develop the Bolgatanga Regional hospital into a teaching hospital affiliated to UDS. These were the consideration behind the NDC Government’s investment in the construction of new facilities and the expansion of the hospital. We once again invite President Akuffo Addo to buy into the visionary ideas of John Dramani Mahama by continuing with this project as well.
The Bolga-Bawku Road
The Bolga-Bawku-Pumakon road, and indeed roads in the Bolgatanga regional capital have been neglected for a long time until the NDC government prioritized them. We want to use the President’s intention to inspect these projects as an opportunity to remind him to show commitment to continue with these works. We particularly urge him maintain the original design of asphalting the road and not vary it to shortchange the people.
This dam has been on the drawing board since the 1960s with successive governments doing nothing about it until the last NDC regime led by JM. Once again credit must be given him for awarding it as a contract in 2016. This project was identified by erstwhile regime of NDC as the game changer for the people of Manprugu Kisei area.
This dam also has an irrigable area of about 1500 acres. The soils are suitable for vegetables, including onions, and rice. Completing the dam will improve livelihoods for thousands of people especially during the long dry season.
We envisage a considerable venture into horticultural exportation by the people to boost incomes and foreign exchange.
Other Strategic Dams
We are deeply worried about the President’s silence in relation the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam. Perhaps the His Excellency the president has not been sufficiently briefed about the importance of this project. We take this opportunity to highlight on it lest the funds get diverted by government into other unplanned areas.
This dam holds the key to the commercial viability of the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, industrial development of the Bolgatanga and Walewale areas and the transformation of their Agriculture. As highlighted by the SADA Agriculture master plan.
The Project is critical for the management of the periodic flooding of the white and Red Voltas, by harnessing and channeling same by gravity into an irrigation project for over 20,000 hectors. Same dam will also provide up to 20 MW of electricity. If we are talking about one-district one factory and the creation of jobs, this is the one project that must be prioritized for its unique features and linkages as it comes with a cheap hydropower project.
During the period of the erstwhile NDC administration, feasibility studies were near completion and several partners including the World Bank, AfD and the European Investment Bank among others had actually expressed interest in financing the project.
Mr. President, there are some two more strategic dams which deserve your attention and consideration. The SADA Master Plan developed by the NDC has aptly highlighted them as part of the projects that were on the priority list the NDC Government (A second dam around Tono and another dam at Sissili). These will irrigate the Fumbisi Valley which in the past has been the rice valleys of the “Upper Regions”.
We will urge the President to take the SADA e Master Plan seriously in order to achieve the objectives of “planting for food and jobs”, “one village one dam” and one district one factory”. The planning for the development of the north has been done by SADA. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Under the SADA Master Plan, World Bank through IDA was scheduled to finance the projects by investing an amount of $1.3billion over the next for (4) years.
The World Bank/IDA window include an initial commitment to fund the Kpalugu Multi-Purpose Dam:
100,000 hectors of irrigation land
99MW of Hydro Electric Power to boost industrial production in the north. World Bank had actually scheduled a donor conference in November 2017 with the support of USAID and EU to raise some $600million for the irrigation project, Hydropower Project and the resettlement of the people to be displaced by the Project.
This is just by way of information that, the NDC Government under H.E John Dramani Mahama believed in working, not talking, which evidence is available for your inspection during this tour.
Mr. President, your free SHS is very laudable but the teething problems showing now are clearly avoidable if you were minded to put in the anticipated infrastructure need for such an intervention.
Clearly, the current suffering of students of “Free SHS under trees and congested facilities is unacceptable. We draw the attention of your Excellency to the USD 150m World Bank funded secondary school improvement project. This is part of the 125 schools under JM’s project to upgrade these schools to the status of model schools. We therefore entreat you to fast-tract the expansion of infrastructure in the 10 under serviced and deprived SHS to ease the suffering of these young ones.
Rural electrification remains a major concern for the people of Bolgatanga. The President should resume and fast track the completion of the rural electrifications projects that has stalled since he took office.
Finally, in as much as we are happy for your visit, we are disappointed that you appear to be coming empty handed without our share of the common fund, nine (9) clear calendar months as provided for in the 2017 Budget. The least you can do for us is to exempt this poor and deprived constituency from the susu collection of GHS5,000 that is aimed at paying off some expenses relating to your visit. You capped the common fund from 7.5% to less than 5%, and we are struggling to keep body and soul together.
We are still awaiting our “One district one factory”, “one village one dam”, our $1m constituency Fund” and the “Zongo Development fund”. Please ensure that, these campaign promises upon which you were voted into office do not become a pipe-dream.
Hon Isaac Adongo (MP Bolgatanga Central Constituency)