The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), has held a constituency stakeholders’ engagement meeting with some selected constituents in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region to share its findings on a research it had conducted on government’s “One Million Dollar Per Constituency” policy.
The meeting, held this Monday in the district’s capital, Bongo had participants including the Bongo District Chief Executive and some departmental or unit heads of the Assembly, traditional leaders, executives of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Hon. Assembly members, youth groups and women’s association leaders among others who made active contributions to the discussions.
A Research Analyst with CDD-Ghana Miss Mildred Edinam Adzraku, in her statement to set the tone for the day’s proceedings, disclosed that the report for the discussions formed part of a broader project known as the “IPEP Tracker” project, which the CDD launched in 2017 to monitor the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) across some 20 selected constituencies in Ghana. She said the purpose of the meeting was to further create awareness at the local level amongst citizens and other critical stakeholders regarding the implementation of the IPEP programme.
Miss Adzraku revealed that the IPEP Tracker Project had three objectives namely; to strengthen the framework and performance of institutions set up to govern and manage the IPEP programme, to eliminate corruption and misuse of public resources by ensuring transparency and accountability in allocation, disbursement, expenditure, accounting and auditing of public funds allocated and disbursed to IPEP and lastly, to ensure efficient and good corporate management of public funds allocated to the IPEP program through sustained monitoring of the implementation of the IPEP programme by Civil Society Organisations.
On the methodology and approach the CDD used in gathering relevant information and collecting related data, the Research Analyst revealed that across the 20 constituencies, indicators such as poverty profile of the districts based on the 2015 poverty mapping report; a mix of urban and rural districts based on Ghana Statistical Service classifications; and the presence of local media and CSOs were considered whilst key informant interviews and direct observations were employed in gathering the required data/information. In addition, both State and non-State actors at the national, regional and constituency levels were engaged and as many as 150 key stakeholders were also met at the regional and district/constituency levels between November 27 and December 11, 2017 in the processes leading to the development of the maiden report. Meanwhile, the CDD undertook a regional and constituency monitoring exercise across all the then 10 regions throughout Ghana in developing the second report between October 29 and November 8, 2018.
It is also worth noting that as recently as between February 18 and 25th February, 2020, the CDD again deployed its officers on field monitoring tours in order to have the latest brief as to the progress of work on various projects under the programme.
Miss Adzraku noted that a lot had been done under the implementation of the “One Million US Dollars Per Constituency” and under the IPEP in general but however stated that, the non-inclusion of citizens and local stakeholders in the process and lack of adequate labelling of projects breeds some level of confusion as to whether or not, work was actually going on.
Bongo District Chief Executive Hon. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga who sat through the deliberations used the opportunity to mention a number of projects his district had benefitted from the programme. These included a 1,000 metric ton ware house located in the Bogrigor community, a number of school blocks, CHPS compounds and as many as 10 dams constructed in communities such as Kuyellingo, Ayopia, Kabre and Sambologu among others.
Hon. Ayibinsa however bemoaned the phenomenon where the Assembly was not deeply involved in the selection and award of contracts thereby creating a difficulty in proper and effective monitoring as the Management of the Assembly was not severed with copies of contract documents and other vital statistics of projects under execution. He stated helplessly; “a contractor comes into the district and calls you, we are constructing a dam for you; what are the dimensions? We do not know. We don’t even have the award letters”.
The DCE said going forward, the Assembly had undertaken to write to the sector ministry through the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council requesting every contract document and project award letters so that the Assembly would be better placed to do a good and effective monitoring job on such beneficiary projects allocated to the Bongo Constituency.
Meanwhile during question and contributions time, some participants were of the view that, the governing party in the 2016 campaigns made independent promises to construct dams in every village, to share one million dollars each to every constituency in every year and to build one factory in every one district but noted that, government had cleverly fused all these into one, the IPEP thus making it difficult for citizens to do a proper tracking of these promises.
Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD-Bongo)