Government’s determination to create the impression that President Mills’ unexpected rush to the United States on Christmas Eve was truly to meet investors has been revealed to be false as information gathered by the New Statesman has proved otherwise.
The Wednesday, 30th December 2011, edition of the Daily Graphic, with the banner headline “Prez Mills' visit to New York...SADA gets £18m boost”, reported that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority was to benefit from an £18 million facility from the Department for International Development (DFID) to start a Millenium Villages Project (MVP) in 2012.
The report stated that the DIFD support for SADA was the result of President J.E.A. Mills’ personal intervention through Professor Jeffery Sachs, a renowned development expert and Director of the Earth Institute of the Columbia University.
The New Statesman can, however, reveal that on the 16th of September 2011, this same deal was announced by Dr Joseph Mensah-Homiah, Team Leader, Millennium Villages Project and the report posted on the Government of Ghana website. (http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/news/regional-news/northern/7497-p18-million-for-sada-millennium-village-project).
According to the September 2011 report, DFID in collaboration with Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is to establish an £18-million SADA Millennium Village Project (MVP) in operational areas in the north.
The project, which would begin on pilot basis, would cover portions of West Mamprusi District in Northern Region and Builsa District in Upper East Region and benefitting 30,000 people.
Dr Mensah-Homiah said £15 million would be used for major interventions in areas such as infrastructure development, while £1.6 million would be used for monitoring and evaluation and £1.5 million for technical assistance and backstopping. He said the project which has a five- year duration would begin in October this year.
The question being asked by most political analysts is why the Mills-Mahama administration is treating Ghanaians with such abject disdain.
The Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akomea, in an earlier interview with the New Statesman on Christmas Day said, “The President should stop kidding with Ghanaians and tell us the truth. This Christmas meeting with US investors sounds like a story from the North Pole.”
The NPP suspects there could be more to this emergency visit than the Castle is willing to share with Ghanaians, “especially, when the President gave no prior public notice of this Christmas trip when he returned from America a week ago,” Nana Akomea said.
He said, “the NPP expected the President to spend, at least, the most important day on the Christian calendar here at home because even the New York Stock Exchange, the citadel of capitalism, does not operate on Christmas day.”
President John Evans Atta Mills left the country for the United States on a nine-day official visit on December 24, exactly a week after he returned from a month’s trip to North America, including a two-week holiday in the US.
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