By Gayheart Anahor, BOLGATANGA, Ghana
Research conducted by the Northern Patriots In Research And Advocacy (NORPRA) suggests that the contract sum of GHC 250,000 for the construction of 285 dams within the five Northern Regions under the Government’s flagship ONE VILLAGE ONE DAM programme is the true sum spent instead of the GHC 670,000 announced by government.
The research was conducted for 285 dams across the five regions of the North to ascertain if the policy is serving its purpose of reducing poverty and ensuring food security.
The Executive Director of Northern Patriots In Research And Advocacy (NORPRA), Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, who communicated the research findings to media practitioners at the Ghana Health Service In-Service Training Conference Centre in the Upper East Region, said the government has not been completely truthful to Ghanaian taxpayers regarding the monies it spent in constructing each dam.
“We were able to track expenditures of 285 One Village One Dam (1V1D) and at the end of it all, we realized that the government spent over Ghc200,000,000 on these dams, and we strike an average, we see that government spent over Ghc670,000 per dam against the contract sum, as we saw in the award letters, Ghc250,000,” he disclosed.
He reiterated, the government has not only misspent the country’s oil money in financing the flagship programme, but the dams are not serving the purpose of increasing food security , reducing out-migration and creating employment.
“Unfortunately, some community members who participated in the focus group discussions and backed them up with what we called community scorecards said that the dams did not contribute in any way to salvaging their socio-economic situation. So, we went further to the dams to see for ourselves, and amazingly, almost all the dams were dried up. no single dam was functioning and there was no dry season farming around any of the dams.”
Unfortunately, some community members who participated in the focus group discussions and backed them up with what we called community scorecards said that the dams did not contribute in any way to salvaging their socio-economic situation. So, we went further to the dams to see for ourselves, and amazingly, almost all the dams were dried up. no single dam was functioning and there was no dry season farming around any of the dams
The research recommended the policy should be reviewed, taking into consideration the technical advice of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and how functional small dams that predated 1V1D projects in Northern Ghana were designed and constructed such as the water holding capacity of the dams, fixing of valves on the dams to enable them to carry water to irrigation farms etc.
The second recommendation was for a comprehensive audit into all One Village One Dam (1V1D) projects by the Audit Service, as stated in the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policies of the Government, to ascertain value for money and promote accountability of Ghana’s petroleum revenue.
It further called on the government to come out with clear policies and guidelines to clarify the roles of each stakeholder within the 1V1D value chain.
Professor David Millar, President of Millar Institute for Trans- Disciplinary and Development Studies said the project executed by NORPRA and entitled “GHANA’S OIL MONEY ON DRIED DAMS ” is indeed an indigenous research by its own natives to ascertain the value and purpose of government flagship programmes to the good people of the five Northern Regions.
He further appealed to other CSOs and private researchers to conduct more research to bring out the unscripted truth through touching base with the grassroots to make Ghanaian citizens appreciate value for money.