ABFA Projects must be Beneficial to Communities – Report

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The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has released the Value for Money impact report on the use of Annual Budget Fund Amount (ABFA) for pro-poor sectors of the economy. This year’s report centered on the use of ABFA for the rehabilitation of Dawa, Ohawu and Keyime irrigation dam and its beneficial impact on the affected communities.

Mr. Theophilus Adoko, Senior Programs Manager of ACEP who released the report to Journalists in Accra said oil revenues continue to be relevant to Ghana’s development. He however said the manner in which projects are executed have the potential to truncate the impact of the revenues on development.

The impact analyses according to him show that all but the Ohawu irrigation project have had more positive impacts on project communities.

The story, Mr. Adoko said, is different for Ohawu which continues to face the same challenges as they faced prior to rehabilitation as the project remains uncompleted. GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh has gathered that at the time of the visit by the ACEP team, the Ohawu project was at 60% stage of completion.

Work according to ACEP had already been halted due to water see pages into the dam wall, a situation that significantly increased estimated cost of repairs.

The Senior Programs Manager of ACEP stated that perhaps the challenge of the Ohawu project would have been prevented had Ghana Irrigation Development Authority [GIDA] taken necessary measures to ensure that its evaluation of rehabilitation works on the dam was well done.

This, he said, shows that GIDA, the Ministry of Finance and agencies responsible for selection, budgeting and planning of projects implemented under the ABFA have a lot to learn from the successes and ‘failures’ of oil funded projects to serve as models for future projects. This, Mr Adoko explained was necessary as more projects would continue to be planned and implemented with funds from the ABFA.

To ensure maximum utilization of the Keyime dam, it recommendation that the agriculture department of the district assembly should design a training programme under the current Planting for Food and Jobs Programme that would train Keyime farmers.

The report also said the Auditor General should probe further into how much ABFA was actually disbursed for rehabilitation of the Ohawu project and why nothing has been done so far.

On effective planning of future ABFA projects, it said ABFA disbursements must be made to projects that have been assessed to guarantee high economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities where projects are allocated to. As much as possible, the report stated that broader consultations should be held with the communities for whom projects are designed. This, according to the report would increase value and utility of projects funded by government.

With regards to cost-effective implementation of ABFA projects, the report said GIDA must put up appropriate mechanisms to ensure that its evaluation of irrigation projects is prudently done and credible for successful implementation of projects.

Government, the report said should in turn provide the resources necessary for GIDA to adequately do its work. GIDA, according to the report must be supported to plan and frugally implement cost-effective projects.

With regards to the impact on the rehabilitation of the Dawa dam, the report said it has increased migration to the area for farming purposes, improved nutrition as new crops are introduced while there is reliable water source for domestic and building application.

Displaced farmers without appropriate compensation and the declined in post-secondary education has also been cited as some of the impact on the rehabilitation of the dawa dam.

On the sustainability of dam, report said beneficiaries must own the dam and take charge of minor maintenance works while GIDA must be resourced to revisit use of boulders to prevent erosion of the upstream portion of the dam wall.

Agric extension officers, it said must provide guidance on good farming practices to reduce the incidence of poor harvests. The District Assembly according to the report must liaise with the Dam Committee to plan for and execute timely professional maintenance of the dam

Report said local taskforce must be constituted to monitor use of dam to prevent misuse. Dawa irrigation projects, the report said has yielded mixed results as beneficiaries have extra incomes because of opportunity to farm both in the rainy and the dry season.

Unintended effects, according to the report also exist. Maintenance plans and execution coupled with regular monitoring to mitigated, the report said must be deployed to identify risks.

Source: Adovor Nutifafa

dovor100@gmail.com

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