Civil Organizations Warn Govt Cough Up GHC 200m To Fund SADA Else

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Ecological Zone have called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, inject GHc 200 million into the operations of SADA.

The CSOs are also calling on parliamentarians to boycott parliamentary sittings if the 2016 Supplementary Budget Statement and Economic Policies of the Government does not make provisions for the authority.  The call was made on Tuesday during a press briefing after a sensitization on the SADA law and the SADA strategy in the Upper East Region.

SADA is a State agency responsible for coordinating a comprehensive development agenda for the Savanna Ecological Zone comprising the Northern, Upper East, Upper West Regions and encompassing parts of Brong-Ahafo and Volta Regions. It was established by an Act of Parliament – SADA Act 805 on 17 September 2010.

But it was dissolved and a new Board formed, following a misappropriation of funds in its previous operations in 2014. New initiatives such as the recently launched SADA Agriculture Investment Guide, the SADA Zone Master Plan Project, the initiative to establish the Savannah Development and Investment Bank, the SADA Business and Investment Forum have been introduced.

But the CSOs have indicated that, despite all these laudable initiatives, government under the leadership of President John Mahama has starved SADA of the necessary resources to function, with no single budgetary allocation disbursed.

According to the CSOs, starving SADA of resources is not only retrogressive and a betrayal of the trust of Ghanaians but a threat to the democratic governance and practice adding that, a failure to fund SADA is a failure to bridge the developmental gap between the savannah zone and the rest of the country .

‘It is important to remind Ghanaians that annual budget allocations to SADA and introducing levies on all non-petroleum imports to fund SADA are legal requirements under Section 18 of the SADA Act of 2010, Act 805, therefore government has been engaging in illegalities over the years by failing to do what is expected of it under the law.”

Mr. Aberinge Milton, who read the press release on behalf of the CSOs called on government to demonstrate practical commitment to its own words by ensuring that at least Ghc200 million is allocated and disbursed to SADA in the 2016 Supplementary Budget Statement and Economic Policies of the Government which is being prepared.

They are further calling on government and for that matter parliament to immediately pass a Legislative Instrument to operationalize the SADA Law.  Meanwhile, the New Board and Management of SADA have been   urged to take bold steps in retrieving all funds that were misappropriated and mismanaged by the leadership of the old SADA.

From William Nlanjerbor

JALULAH, Bolgatanga

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