General News of Wednesday, 13 December 2017
The Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Mr Isaac Adongo, has accused the government of making its US$1 million per constituency project under the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSIs) a conduit to siphon public funds into needless ventures.
He added that the special initiatives have now become an avenue for loot and share by persons in charge of its implementation at the Presidency to the detriment of the people expected to benefit.
As a result, he said the government had deliberately increased allocations to the PSIs while reducing funding to the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies (MMDAs).
Backing his stance with data from the 2018 budget, Mr Adongo said at a public lecture in Accra, that while allocations for the goods and services to the 216 MMDAs nationwide was GH¢14.7 million, the operational cost of three development authorities under the PSIs is expected to sap GH¢71 million.
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“This is just operational cost alone,” he emphasised at the lecture organised by pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) group, the Coalition for Restoration.
Listing some of the expenditure items, the MP said internal management of organisations was estimated to cost GH¢8.6 million, more than half of what has been allocated to the 216 MMDAs.
“What is internal management of organisations? Also, procurement of 20 four-wheel drive vehicles has been allocated GH¢10 million and hiring of office accommodation for middle and coastal belt development authorities and regional offices is allocated GH¢15 million,” he added.
He said another suspicious expenditure item was one christened local and international affiliations, which has been allocated GH¢2.5 million.
“Also, they are saying that under the $1 million per constituency, they will bring me, Isaac Adongo, one ambulance at a cost of GH¢354,000. Who says that if you go to Bolgatanga Constituency and you ask them about their priorities, they will even imagine anything called ambulance? Yet GH¢97.5 million is going into the procurement of ambulances out of our $1 million per constituency,” he said.
He said the budget further showed that toilets programmed to be constructed under the policy will cost GH¢187,000 per toilet and wondered the type of toilets that required such an amount to construct.
The irony, he said was that the money was being taken from the MMDAs, which are also underfunded, to fund these projects.
“If this is not ripping Ghana dry”, he said, then I wonder it is.