You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 07 24Article 214507

Opinions of Sunday, 24 July 2011

Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa

GH20m For ECObrigade, GH5m For SADA

When Finance Minster, Dr Duffour was reading the Supplementary budget in parliament a week ago, the GH20m allocated to ECOBRIGADE received more cheers - apparently from the Majority-than the GH5m given to SADA. That SADA’s money received cheers than jeer is what baffles me.

Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is a government project with the aim to help alleviate poverty and induce development in our three Northern Regions.

ECOBRIGADE is also another government program designed with an objective to help clean our beaches of homo sapien waste and filth. So while SADA is a pill to cure underdevelopment and poverty brought on by nature, ECOBRIGADE is a Christmas present intended to reward bad behavior.

For why would government spend GH20m to employ people to clean up waste and filth at beaches that they themselves created when it has ,so far ,given only a combined GH30m( GH25m plus the recent GH5) to SADA; a project on whose success the lives of millions depend? In fact why is government tackling the problem upside down?

A better option for government would have been a preventive measure. That is an environmental campaign directly aimed at restraining the “behavior”, the source of the waste and filth. This option could have been backed by task forces and beach patrollers. Instead it has chosen to tackle the problem at the end of the act.

Better yet our Southern siblings have resorted to the our beaches because of lack of infrastructures and logistics – KVIPS, inefficient waste management companies etc- so why not use the money to provide “decent sites” for them?

The best option however would have been the addition of the GH20m to SADA - to actualize the “ACCELERATION”, after all the alleviation of poverty is more important of the two. But the ruling party, as we all know, has the Northern vote in the bag. It can afford to take forever to develop the North. The coastal vote, on the other hand, is not as guaranteed.

After breaking its promise to the Western region - 10% of oil; after failing to honor its word to fishermen on pre-mix fuel; and unable to deliver “promised” lands –supposedly stolen- to Ga youth, government is obviously desperate. It knows that if it doesn’t do something grand to appease the coastal front, it will lose the vote, hence ECOBRIGADE. Ostensibly it is supposed to employ 10,000 people. But whether it is a long or short term employment, I can’t tell.

What I know is that, the problem that ECOBRIGADE is to fix would be there for a long time- due to lack of preventive measures. It is a self perpetuating job. The cleaners at the same time and in most cases would be the doers. ( I mean, would it be in the interest of these 10,000 young people to cause their own unemployment?) Meanwhile, it is doubtful whether SADA has even employed a single Northerner.

So, if ECOBRIGADE is to compete toe to toe with SADA for limited funds and even take precedent over the latter, as evidenced by the recent budget, then one can not help but conclude that our Northern siblings have, once again, been duped by the P-ndc.

Akwasi. A. Afrifa Akoto.