A Takoradi-based lawyer, Ebenezer Kweku Kwaitoo, is cautioning against the over politicization of the new provisions in the Development Authority Bill.
The Bill seeks to create three development authorities the governing New Patriotic Party [NPP] promised to create in order to fast track development in the country.
[contextly_sidebar id=”XXP7Ahi7XLoT7LDUf0JKy2okFsMCSFQj”]According to the lawyer, what led to the problems that crippled the fortunes of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority [SADA], have not been properly taken care of in the new bill.
He says the appointment of employees to the authority by the president will run down the authority when there is a change of government.
Speaking at a consultative stakeholder engagement on the new development authority bill in Takoradi organized by the Western Region Coastal Foundation, Mr. Kwaitoo explained that, these new development authorities risk suffering worst forms of the SADA scandal if politics is not taken out of the current provisions.
He said, “SADA wasn’t insulated from politics, and from what we see in this new bill, it is going to be worse, because, the board is going to be appointed by the president, which we do not have much of a problem with, but the bill says all the staff, employees are also to be appointed by the president, which will plunge down the fortunes of the authority immediately there is a change in government. All these people will be sacked by the new government and thus, render the plans, support, progress and vision of the development authority completely forgotten. I do not think that is what Ghanaians need. SADA was politicized and we all know the fallout from that”.
After the problems that confronted the SADA, new recommendations were made by the erstwhile John Mahama NDC administration to revive the fortunes of the authority by inculcating accountability mechanisms into the authority, and to bring its governance mechanisms to the scrutiny of the people in the operational areas.
However, the new authority’s bill is silent on how the programs of the authorities will be guarded by the citizens. This lawyer Kwaitoo believes will lead to the failure of the new authorities.
He noted that “the social accountability systems and the accounting and audit systems that should be put in place to ensure that people do not engage in corrupt deals even though were somehow in the law with SADA; couldn’t prevent what happened, most of them are absent from this one, because the stakeholder coordinating committee has been scrapped from this one… We are talking about social accountability. The ordinary citizen must be empowered to ask questions and be part of it. The CSOs, NGOs, the various stakeholders even though are not going to be members of the board should have a role to play, just as the SADA Act now has it, it has been scrapped here and we think it must be brought into it”.
The Development Authority Bill is scheduled to be sent to parliament soon for ratification.
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/citfmonline.com/Ghana