The Minority in Parliament has said it will not approve the GH¢ 1.5 billion budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives.
According to the leader of the caucus, Haruna Iddrisu, the Ministry appears to be irrelevant in the scheme of national development as its functions are only duplicates of what other ministries and agencies including the various development authorities are expected to do.
“We on this side will not support any statutory allocation or appropriation to that ministry, and we will not, because the creation of that ministry is creating conflict with the established development authorities of the President,” Haruna Iddrisu said.
But the sector minister, Mavis Hawa Koomson, who was responding to the claims, said Haruna Iddrisu has no basis to question the relevance of her ministry.
“It is neither here nor there. We are not duplicating. We are complementing the work of the assemblies. If a whole Minority Leader will stand in Parliament and say this, I beg to differ…I think their problem is that I should have waited for the Development Authorities to come and start work so that they will have the opportunity to blame the government…. The Development Authorities are under the Ministry of Special Initiatives, so it cannot be conflicting. The district assemblies have been in existence for so many years, and we still have this infrastructure deficit in the communities; water, toilet and so on,” she said.
Reacting to calls by the Minority that her Ministry be scrapped, she said the Ministry is key to the President’s development agenda for the country, and therefore cannot be scrapped.
“How can the ministry be scrapped? It cannot be because the President in his own wisdom knows what he wants to do and why he set it up,” she said.
The Awutu Senya West legislator added that she did not believe Haruna Iddrisu has the moral right to question the relevance of her ministry especially as his constituency, Tamale South, has benefited enormously from the works of the Ministry.
“…And he Haruna, go to his constituency, he has two big warehouses, prefabricated warehouses, six toilet facilities, six water systems there, all under my ministry, so why should he complain. The 275 constituencies, they all have these projects,” she said.
Mavis Hawa Koomson further explained that the government’s promise of $1 million for each constituency is not meant to be given directly to the constituencies.
According to her, the fund was to be used by the government for development projects in the constituencies.
“The $1 million, 1 constituency is under my ministry. The money is not to be distributed to the people in the community to put in their pockets for consumption, but we are to use it for projects to bridge the [poverty] gap in the communities. We know we have a lot of issues when it comes to infrastructure. This is what we are using to do all those things [development], she said.