The 2016 vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, says the recently announced Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) will be administered by three (3) development authorities to be established by an Akufo-Addo government, God-willing, from January 2017.
These development authorities, he said, are the Northern Development Authority, for the 3 northern regions; the Middle-Belt Development Authority, for the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, and Eastern Regions; and the Coastal Development Authority for the 4 coastal regions.
“All these 3 authorities will be reporting to the Office of the President, and they will be the vehicles for the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme,” he added.
Dr. Mahamudu was addressing residents of Saboba in the Northern Region, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, on the 3rd day of Nana Akufo-Addo’s tour of the region, when he made this known.
It will be recalled that on Tuesday, August 30, whilst in Bunkpurugu, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced that an Akufo-Addo government, God-willing, will allocate US$275 million per year to tackle issues relating to infrastructural development and poverty eradication in rural and deprived communities across the country. This amount, which translates into US$1 million per constituency, he explained, is to be contained in the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme.
Reiterating the rationale for the establishment of IPEP to residents of Saboba, Nana Akufo-Addo’s running mate stressed that “if you go around this country, to Saboba, Bunkpurugu, Yunyoo, Mumuni Camp (in Amenfi West), you will see that there’s so much poverty. Nana Akufo-Addo wants to bring in this new initiative to tackle poverty directly.”
With the usual chorus of “where are you going to get the money from?” surrounding every policy initiative announced by the NPP, Dr. Bawumia explained that “this programme is not going to use new money, so nobody should ask us where we are getting the money from. The money is already there.”
He explained that what an Akufo-Addo government is going to do “is to reallocate the money in Ghana’s capital expenditure budget, and stop people chopping the money and taking it to Dubai and Burkina Faso. That (capital expenditure) budget, this year, is US$1.6 billion. We are saying that we have too many poor people all around the country, and when they (government) spend monies in the capital budget, it never gets to the ground”.
Thus, an NPP government, he added is “starting with US$275 million, and we will take that money out of the existing capital budget and every constituency, every year, will get the equivalent of US$1 million for infrastructure development”.
With 57 constituencies making up the 3 northern regions, Dr. Bawumia indicated that “the Northern Development Authority will handle US$57 million for the three northern regions. So, Insha Allah, next year, every constituency in Northern Ghana will get GH¢4 million (¢40 billion of old money) to deal with your infrastructure problems. In Saboba, you will also get that money every year. The capital budget will allocate the equivalent of US$1 million to every constituency.”
He concluded by stressing that IPEP “is the new approach to poverty eradication. We are not going to let the money stay in Accra for people to steal it. We are going to directly allocate it and you, in the various constituencies, will then decide what to use the money for.”