The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama has revealed that the government’s flagship program of One Village One Dam (1V1D) will start next week, adding that one hundred and ninety six (196) sites have been earmarked for same project.
Speaking as part of her contribution to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the Floor of Parliament, indicated that the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) has undertaken all preliminary activities needed for the takeoff of the program.
She added that, the Ministry with its partner agencies identified One Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty One (1221) potential sites for the program across the three northern regions and part of the Brong Ahafo region.
Out of these, 196 sites were accepted for pilot, and technical works were initiated for the start of work on them, adding that they intend to use technology to deliver state of the art dams which are fit for purpose.
She noted that, these dams would not only serve as water supply for farmers, but also be useful for other national needs.
The Ministry, She said, is directly involved in almost all government programs, and that, they have to get the various assemblies ready for every program or policy of government.
She also disclosed that, this intervention has already created jobs for a lot of the youth in those communities and districts, where the Ministry employed labor intensive and technology for same projects.
In that regard, the Ministry made financial payments in excess of Fourteen Million Ghana Cedis (GhC14m) to individuals working on these dams in 2017 alone, and this, she sees as incentive to the fight against unemployment.
She also revealed that the Ministry for Special Initiatives is ready to take over from where they have reached to start rolling the program out in earnest from next week.
In a related development, the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Hon. Frank Adongo Fuseini indicated that, the President has directed the Minister of Finance to, as a matter of urgency make funds available for the start of the One Village One Dam project of his party.
The President, He said, made this directive at a Ministerial retreat held at the beginning of the year.
Adding that, the President indicated that he wanted Ghana to take advantage of the rains that is about to start, for the purpose of filing the dams.
The two Ministers therefore asked for the support of the Ghanaian public in their resolve to fulfill their promise to them, and in the attempt to alleviate the developmental challenges of the state.
It would be recalled that the 1V1D program became a major campaign issue of the ruling New Patriotic Party in the 2016 electioneering period, for which cause Ghanaians voted overwhelmingly for them.
Similarly, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development further revealed that plans are underway to ensure that Municipal and District Chief Executives are elected in 2021.
She indicated that, the President in his State of the Nation Address made commitments to ensuring the election of MCEs, a move she sees as very commendable, because the President in doing so is agreeing to relinquish significant part of his authority.
Reiterating that, the President is letting go his influence and authority at that level, this, she see as a good sign for our democracy, adding that in itself, is the solution to the issue of winner takes all that has characterized our young democracy all these while.
She further revealed that the MMDAs are better off under the current administration, than they were under the erstwhile NDC government.
This is because funds were not going to the Assemblies for over three years under the previous administration, but the opposite is the case under the current NPP government.
The Local Government Minister also explained that, the government has been able to provide funds on schedule to the Assemblies, and even paid some of the arrears under the previous administration.
At the commencement of Public business of the House, Parliament adopted and approved the Report of the Finance Committee on the Taxation (Use of Fiscal Electronic Device) Bill, 2017 and by so approved the Bill into Law.
The purpose of the Bill is to provide mandatory use of Fiscal Electronic Devise by a specified category of taxable individuals or institutions, as well as make a mandatory report of a change in business location.
Story: Frederick E. Aggrey