General News of Friday, 6 October 2017
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has commended the New Patriotic Party-led government under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for redeeming its campaign promise of restructuring the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) when voted into office.
Parliament on Thursday, October 5, 2017, read for the second time the Northern Development Authority (NoDA) Bill, 2017, a bill which when passed into an Act will replace the Savannah Development Authority Act (Act 805 of 2010).
Hon. Iddrisu commenting on the move lauded the government for taking that bold initiative in ensuring that the developmental gaps between the three regions in the north and the south are bridged and poverty levels reduced to the barest minimum.
“Mr. Speaker, I also note and commendable that government is walking the talk per the manifesto on the infrastructure for poverty alleviation program where the NPP campaigned that it will restructure SADA. So, if this is the restructuring of SADA, it is welcome,” he noted.
However, he warned that the proposed restructuring of SADA with the Northern Development Authority Bill may collapse if the government relies on the Consolidated Fund as the main source of funding for the proposed projects and programs captured under the Bill.
“Mr. Speaker, my primary concern is the sustainability of the financing mechanism. That worries my heart. If you have a Bill on the Northern Development Authority and is dependent on the Consolidated Fund, dependent of the pleasure of the Minister of Finance, I see no commitment to bridging the gap between the north and the south.
He (Minister of Finance) will come back here (Parliament) and report the same budgetary constraints, report of same lack of fiscal space – that is why in the SADA law, specifically, on sources of funding, there was a dedicated petroleum receipt.
So, if you have not worked it, consider it and I am sure when it comes to consideration stage, we will forcefully, on this side, urge that there is earmark in other that with no uncertainty, all the development strategies and how the development plan will be financed but certainly not on the Consolidated Fund because that is unreliable and unsustainable,” he stressed.
The Minority Leader was also not enthused why the NPP was in a rush to replace SADA with NoDA when there are no defects in existing law.
“Undoubtedly, the SADA Act, Act 805 of 2010, represents watershed of a legislation committed to it. I admit that there are governance and management problems in the execution but the problem is not with the legislation.
I am able to find problems with its management; I am able to find problems with its governance; I am able to find problems with its abusers of public resources but I do not see a defect in the SADA Act,” he posited.