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one of the steel bridges on river Ponponse
one of the steel bridges on river Ponponse

Oil funded projects bring relief to farming communities

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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