Three projects partly funded with proceeds from Ghana’s oil resources have brought relief to some farming communities in the Eastern Region.
The Projects include the construction of the New Tafo- Nobi-Samlesi- Anwiabeng feeder roads with partial concrete –paved surface, construction of two steel bridges on the River Ponpon at Nsutapong Chakachakam- Osuaobiri ponpose feeder roads as well as a six unit class room with ancillary facilities at Apedwa SDA Primary School in the Eastern Region.
Before the execution of these projects, residents say it was very difficult to transport their farm produce to the market as the roads were unmotorable, while School children were unable to cross the river to School especially when the river overflows its boundaries.
Mr Paul Offei, a farmer at Pomposo No.2 told Public Agenda that he was so impressed with the work done as it had brought some convenience to them and their children.
Mr Offei said, “Initially, it was difficult to transport our farm produce from this village to the market for sale but now because of the construction of the steel bridge, vehicles come here and we are able to go to the market with ease. Besides, the children were not able to cross to the other side to school when it rains and the river overflows its boundries but now I can boldly say we are okay.”
Mr Simon Afedzi, also a farmer expressed delight over the projects. However Mr Afedzi stated that he did not know that those projects were partly funded with the Annual Budget Funding Amount.
He said, “I know the project was coming from the government of Ghana, but I didn’t know it was the oil money. For us in this community, I think it is good for us because we are able to go to other communities without difficulty. It means that even though we don’t have oil here, we are also enjoying the oil proceeds. We thank government for this.”
These were gathered during a tour of projects financed with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) in the Eastern Region. The visit was sanctioned by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) and supported by the GIZ and SECO.
Mr Evans Acheampong, Assembly Member of the Gyanobase Electoral area at Apedwa, in the East Akim Municipal Assembly, where a six Unit class room was constructed lamented the lack of involvement of community members in the execution of oil funded projects.
Mr Acheampong told the team that he as the assembly member of the area was not aware of the construction of the classrooms until it was completed. Besides, he was not aware the project was funded with the ABFA until the day PIAC visited the area.
He opined that going forward, there is the need for government or the implementing agencies to get the people involved from project inception stage till completion.
He also advised that it is better for government to label the projects so that Ghanaians will be able to separate the Oil funded project from the other projects.
Mr Acheampongs proposal to christen Oil funded projects like it was done to HIPC projects in the past was among the key recommendations made by participants in various forums organised by PIAC.They are of the view that labeling such projects would allow the citizenry to appreciate and feel the impact of how the country’s oil revenue is utilized.
On his part, Mr Mark Agyemang,Technical Manager at the PIAC said for it to be easy for the citizens to know projects that are funded with proceeds from oil revenue, the Districts Assemblies must be involved in all the aspects of such projects.
“The Assemblies should be involved in each of the stages from the contracting process to the implementation process. Because each of these projects we visited that have been counterpart funded by the ABFA, you get there and they tell you it is from Get Fund and if is a road project, they tell you it is from Road Fund or it from government consolidated fund, then you will now have to educate them that this is and amount of oil revenue that was sunk into the project as counterpart funding.”Mr Agyeman suggested.
He added for it to be easy to identify the projects, there is the need to involve the Assemblies and also provide labeling to the projects
By Mohammed Suleman