CSOs Unhappy About Govt’s Commitment To Funding SADA

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) within the enclave of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zone has expressed its dismay at the “lukewarm commitment” of government regarding its financial support to fast-track development of the savannah ecological area under the auspices of SADA.

According to the Coalition, despite the existence of SADA Act 805, Authority Act, 2010 which enjoins the government to make annual budgetary allocations to the Authority, and also levy all non-petroleum imports to fund SADA, the government has been reluctant to observe these obligations.

Section 18 of the SADA Act spells out the financial provisions: it states that sources of funds to the Authority include “moneys appropriated for the Authority by Parliament; levies on non-petroleum imports as may be approved by Parliament; and any other moneys that the Finance Minister may approve”.

The Brong Ahafo Regional Representative of the Coalition, Raphael Godlove Ahenu said government’s failure to adhere to these financial provisions in the Act is seriously affecting SADA’s ability to effectively and efficiently deliver its mandate of transforming the poverty-stricken savannah ecological zone, adding: “The Coalition is therefore extremely dissatisfied, frustrated and disappointed about the unpleasant happenings”.

He was speaking at a sensitisation workshop organised by the Coalition in Sunyani for its members and media practitioners. Among other things, the event was aimed at setting the record straight about certain activities which the Coalition perceives to be undermining the success of SADA.

“Starving SADA of its legitimate resources is not only deepening poverty and demonstration of inequality in the system, but also shows great disrespect to the country’s laws as well as thwarting efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Mr. Ahenu stated.

The Coalition acknowledged the new policy directions of SADA under its current management and board after the previous failed attempts by the Authority to execute initiatives like the Guinea-fowl project and afforestation. It mentioned the SADA Agriculture Investment Guide, SADA Zone Master Plan Project, and proposed SADA Investment Bank and Business Investment forum as some of the promising initiatives -- but was quick to add that “these initiatives will only bear fruit when the needed financial resources are pumped into them”.

The Coalition has therefore advocated a GH¢200million allocation to SADA before end of first quarter 2016, and swift levying of all non-petroleum imports to fund SADA. It has further entreated the general public to join the crusade to resource SADA, to help facilitate “total transformation of that zone and the country as a whole”.

The Corporate Affairs Director of SADA, Sam Salifu Danse, said the absence of a Legislative Instrument (L.I) has restrained the Authority from exhibiting certain powers enjoined by the SADA Act 805, Authority Act, 2010.

He explained that the Authority, for instance under section 20 of the Act, has the power to obtain loans and credit facilities it requires for implementing programmes and policies, subject to Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution and the loans Act, 1970 (Act 335). However, the Authority can only execute this power with the backing of an L.I.

Mr. Danse repeatedly appealed for all stakeholders to expedite action on the formulation of required L.I. to neutralise limitations in the SADA Act so as to help the Authority function effectively.