In the NPP’s 2016 Manifesto, chapter 4, under Agriculture and Rural Development, section b. Irrigation Development, bullet 4 on page 50, the “One Village, One Dam” (1V1D) policy was captured as “facilitating the provision of community-owned and managed small-scale irrigation facilities across the country, especially in northern Ghana, through the policy of “One Village, One Dam”.
The 1V1D policy—like every promise—was or is assumed to be made pensively. It was made to tackle a specific challenge. Which is, the lack of water for agricultural purposes in the northern regions during dry seasons. This has and should never be in doubt.
The choice of where and the caption under which the promise was placed in the Manifesto and the wording of the section was clear. Hence, anything, except dams fitted with irrigation facilities, is a failure to deliver and a breach of Ghanaians’ trust.
In December, 2017, when it had become clear that there was going to be no show, I asked a parliamentary question on the state of the program and the Deputy Minister of Agric (Hon George Boahen Oduro) came to answer as follows, that:
• 311 facilities have been earmarked for intervention.
• Design and procurement processes were ongoing, and
• The dams will include irrigation facilities; he says “Mr Speaker, what I said was that, all these dams would be mechanized in addition to the irrigation facilities to the farmers around the dams” (Hansard, Tuesday, 12th December, 2017).
Outside parliament, we were told the program failed to start in 2017 because the development authorities were not ready.
Also, Vice President, Dr Bawumia went into town with a promise that 570 dams will be constructed in 2018. When it be clear, again, that 2018 too was no show, he said it was because it was the rainy season. Forget that this 570 contradicted the Minister’s 311 presented to Parliament.
There are over 6000 villages in northern Ghana. The reasonable expectation of the people of northern Ghana is that over 6000 dams will be constructed for them. At worse, the number must be close to 6000. After all, when then candidate Akufo-Addo and his running mate were told it is impossible to construct a dam in every village, we were told we lack visionary understanding. Candidate Akufo-Addo affirmed this by stating that “I am not going to tell the Ghanaian people that I am going to do something when I know I cannot do it. I will never, ever lie to the people of Ghana. I will never do that. I have too much respect and love for Ghanaians to do that to them”. (www.ghanaweb.com report on 2 September 2016).
This year, I filed another question which was answered by the Minister of Agric. In an answer to a follow up question by Hon Ayariga, the minister stated that the cost of the smallest dam will be GHS2.5m (almost similar to JICA’s own cost of GHS2.4m for a similar dam). Yet, in reality, only GHS256,000 has been allocated for each dam.
In the past few weeks, the media is awash with reports of shoddily constructed ‘dams’ that have been washed away by 30-minute rains or that have become football fields. This is not surprising. Actually, any keen observer could have predicted this.
• How is a dam that is supposed to cost GHS2.5m (minimum) be constructed with GHS256,000? Let me borrow the popular ‘circle key soap bar’ cliché; when you buy an iPhone XR that costs GHS5,000 at GHS500; you will get a key soap bar. In this case, we are getting football-field-dugouts. Even, in 2016 when government constructed dugouts under the GSOP program, each cost GHS450,000 (info is available at the District Assemblies)
• What role has the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) played in the construction of these dugouts? Did the rollout of this program benefit from the valuable inputs of the experts at GIDA?
When the John Mahama government undertook a similar program, they did it utilizing institutions with the technical know-how and with no/little fanfare. It is not surprising, therefore, to hear the Minister-in-charge call them ‘meaningless’ dams.
The woes of this policy can be attributed to the over politicization of the program; which has led to the alienation of important stakeholders and expert opinions, and the lack of a project document detailing a comprehensive implementation schedule, verifiable designs and technical specifications of the proposed dams/dugouts and the responsibilities of responsible institutions.
That said, it is important to state that the lack of commitment from government—which is evident in the amount allocated to each dam and clearly espoused by the Minister—is at the heart of the failure of this program.
The earlier belligerence of Government in defending the shoddy works we have all seen did not allow it to learn important lessons to plug the current waste that is being foisted on our necks. I am therefore happy that the Government through the Minister has now realized that they are not constructing any meaningful dams. And, in the light of this recent admission, I call on the Ministers in charge to listen to the voices of ordinary Ghanaians, especially in northern Ghana.
It is important to state that the government is not constructing dams/dugouts just for the sake of it? Media reports indicate that these dugouts are not fitted with irrigation facilities. If this remains the case, then the government has failed to deliver on the 1V1D promise. Not only should this failure be seen as super incompetence but also a deliberate deception of the Ghanaian voter.
Hon. Yusif Sulemana
MP, Bole/Bambo, (Deputy ranking, Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism)
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba