bagbin nitiwul

Alban Bagbin and Dominic Nitiwul

THE MINORITY and majority members on Friday clashed over the controversial GH?15million investment by the government in the commercial production of guinea fowl (akonfem) under the auspices of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) for local consumption and export when they were debating the budget estimates for the SADA.

The deputy minority leader and MP for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul, said it was incomprehensible for the government to invest such a huge sum of money into a venture which could not help improve the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian.

?Mr speaker, the government could spend such a huge sum of money on guinea fowl production which may be a viable venture but there is nothing there to show for it, not even a single egg.?

He said the government?s explanation to Parliament that the project was initiated to provide jobs for over 10,000 farm families, makes the issue more serious because that amount could have directly been given to those families to rear their own guinea fowls.

?Mr speaker, do you know that this GH?1,500 could change the fortunes of a lot of families in the North and their dependants. This money could help rear over 100 guinea fowls by each family but now the money has virtually gone down the drain,? he said

The deputy minority leader also noted that the GH?33million investment in tree planting in the three northern regions had been another wasteful investment by the government in collaboration with Asongtaba Cottage Industries because SADA had informed Parliament that  most of the trees planted had been burnt and destroyed by bushfires.

?Mr speaker, how can you plant trees at a time you know the conditions in the north will not favour their growth,? he queried adding that as an MP from the North, he was very much concerned about how SADA used its resources for the accelerated development of the three Northern regions.

The Bimbilla MP?s comment did not go down well with the NDC MPs especially those from the Northern regions, who put up a spirited defence for the two projects, particularly the one on guinea fowl.

The first to defend the guinea fowl project was the MP for Nadowli/Kaleo, Alban Bagbin, who said that assertion by the deputy minority leader could not be correct because guinea fowl production was a capital-intensive project and therefore the GH?1,500 being mentioned by the deputy minority leader as figure per family would be able to sustain guinea fowl production at the family level.

The MP for Mion and a deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, asked the minority members not to politicise the Guinea Fowl Project because of its ability to impact positively on the lives of the people in the North.

Parliament went ahead to approve the sum of GH?21.5million for SADA?s operations in 2014.

GNPC Stopped

Meanwhile, the government has backtracked on its intention to allow Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to $39.5million to rent offices in Accra after DAILY GUIDE splashed on its front page on Friday that the GNPC was supposed to have used $61.9 million for its office accommodation as captured in its budget for 2014.

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Kofi Buah, in moving the motion to approve of the estimates for his ministry, said the decision to give that amount to GNPC to rent an office as it prepared to build its permanent office in Accra was only discussed at the executive level.

Dr Kwabena Donkor, chairman of the select committee on Mines and Energy had earlier denied that he was pushing for the deal and that he rather drew the attention of the Energy Minister to it.

The house also approved estimates for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Office of the Government Machinery, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts as well as the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.

 By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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