It has emerged that the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), a body established under an Act of Parliament to spearhead the economic and social development of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ) has been starved of funds from government for the past five years.
Public Agenda has learned that the last time the Organization received money from the government was in 2012 and has since been relying mostly on donor support.
The situation according to observers is an affront to section 18 of the SADA Act 805, (2010) which mandates government to make financial allocations to the organisation to help ensure its sustainability.
Speaking to Public Agenda on the issue, the Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Mr Charles Akelyira Abugre, confirmed that indeed the Authority for some years now has not received funding from government.
According to Mr Abugre, since the audit report was leaked regarding the tree planting and guinea fowl rearing in the early days of SADA, the government has not really funded the Authority.
He explained, “So the last funding was in 2012. In 2013, some money was committed in the budget but zero was disbursed. In 2014, nothing was committed. In 2015, I think 1million or so for salaries was committed but less than Gh 250, 000 was disbursed. In 2016 about GHC, 235, 000 or so were committed, but I think Gh 123,000 or so was disbursed.”
Mr Abugre “continued that in 2017, Gh 2,080,000 was committed. So far, we are still waiting for the disbursement, but it is mostly salaries. But in 2017 the argument was that the government intends to create the Northern Development Authority, therefore they have made the allocation to the Northern Development Authority.”
Asked how the Authority has been able to weather the storm till now, Mr Abugre, indicated that a bit of the seed capital that was allocated to the authority during its inception remained and that amount was used for institutional building, employing the staff, building the systems among other things.
He submitted further that aside the remnants of the seed capital that was used for the aforementioned activities, all other programme activities was largely being financed through development assistance.
He mentioned that the USAID, UNDP and other donor agencies who “have given us quite a lot of support in several ways from vehicles, equipment, support for our regional offices in Bolgatanga, Wa, Kintampo, Dambai and they have also financed some of our meetings and workshops.”
He Added, “USAID supports our agricultural work and agricultural coordination. UNICEF has supported out monitoring and evaluation and health related work. So a number of development partners are really supporting the institution.”
Mr Abugre mentioned that several projects are in the pipeline and will soon be set in motion, while others are functioning.
He posited that the irrigation scheme in Yagaba, in particular, is probably one of the best functioning irrigation schemes in the country but most do not know much about it.
He explained the dam “is about four hundred hectares and centre pivot to irrigation and out growers’ scheme. So it is quite successful and it is growing. SADA co-created it with African Tiger limited, but is it run by a private company called IWAT. So SADA doesn’t directly run it but co- owns the project and provides guidance. We have incubated other programmes which are now slowly coming into stream.”
In addition , “there is solar energy project coming unto stream and we have been working to get the first major shopping mall in Tamale and that is getting closer, it will be coming on stream shortly.