The Energy Minister, has acknowledged the failure of the Akufo-Addo government in meeting the developmental needs of the people of both Ashanti and the Volta Region.
Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) Manhyia South in the Ashanti Region, pointed out that the Kumasi metropolis is being ravaged by flood water at the least amount of rain in recent years, but no effort has been devised by the Akufo-Addo government to have the situation addressed.
“Kumasi has been flooded four times but I didn’t see Kumasi in the budget”, the Energy Minister said on Asempa FM on Thursday, December 2, 2021 while threatening to kicked against the recommendation by the Minority caucus in Parliament, that the Keta Sea Defence project be captured in the 2022 budget.
He suggested that capturing the Keta Sea Defence project in the 2022 Budget will be a mistake on the part of Akufo-Addo government while ignoring the Kumasi metropolis, and he threatened to mobilize residents of Kumasi to hit the streets and express anger against the NPP government if the wish of the minority to capture the Keta Sea Defence project is granted.
Roads in the Ashanti Regional capital Kumasi, have been deplorable. Unlike the Kyebi, the hometown of the President Nana Akufo-Addo which has been asphalted by the government following the redesigning of the Ofori Panyin Palace, same cannot be said for the Kumasi metropolis and many parts of the Ashanti Region. Contractors have had to angrily storm out of sites for lack of payment. Interestingly, many parts of the Eastern Region have also witnessed major road projects,
Some daring ones went on radio publicly calling the President “a rascal” for lying they had been paid or that there was money available to pay them, while commercial banks were chasing them to settle loans they had secured and pumped into these projects.
The construction of the roads in Kumasi would have led to working on the drains to control rainwater from flooding the metropolis in the manner the Energy Minister talked about but this is not the case and many people including the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II have openly complained.
While acknowledging and highlighting the neglect of Kumasi, a stronghold of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Volta Region the “World Bank” of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), NAPO accused the Rawlings government of misapplying funds which were secured to fund the construction of sea defence projects in the Volta Region.
“Kumasi has been flooded four times but I didn’t see Kumasi in the budget. If the Finance Minister includes the Keta Sea Defence Project in the budget, I will vote for zero percent (E-levy).
“Budget is a national business document that cannot solve all our problems in a day. Between 1998 and 2000, NDC went for money for sea defence at Keta, they chopped the money. They used the money for something else. When NDC were in power, Keta was still experiencing tidal waves. They went for a loan in the name of that project but they didn’t do it. President Kufuor had to contract another loan for it but they still voted against him.
“Eight years of NDC (2008-2016) I didn’t see Keta Sea Defence Project anywhere so if you go to opposition and you ask me to include it in the budget when Kumasi flooding is also not in the budget, we’ll protest. If the Finance Minister makes a mistake and adds it to the budget, I will lead Kumasi residents on a demonstration,” he said on Asempa FM.
The Keta Sea Defence Project is one of a number of concessions the NDC MPs want the government to make before they approve the budget. This follows the displacement of over 4,000 residents after tidal waves occurred in the coastal areas of the Volta Region.
The Haruna Iddrisu-led minority also wants a scrapping of the 1.75% Electronic Transaction levy and the bench mark value.
The Minority in a fresh statement issued on Friday, December 3, 2021 re-affirmed its stance against the E-levy, stressing that it will oppose the budget until the proposed levy is expunged from the budget. The NDC Caucus in Parliament wishes to assure Ghanaians that it will continue to use every legitimate and lawful channel to resist the 1.75% E-Levy government is seeking to impose on the ordinary Ghanaian.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the position of the NDC Caucus in Parliament right from the outset of the 2022 Budget debate has been that the 1.75% E-Levy government is seeking to impose is regressive, punitive and draconian, and that same must be suspended. “The Minority Caucus has vigorously championed this position in Parliament and in the media space to draw Government’s attention to our demands,” parts of the statement read.
In September this year, the Ashanti Region Caucus in Parliament pledged its relentless commitment to drum home development and infrastructure to ensure the region gets a lion’s share of the national cake.
Deputy Chief Whip of the Caucus, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, who doubles as the MP for Old Tafo Constituency, assured the Ashanti Region of intense lobbying to draw development into the region.
Speaking on Akoma FM’s current affairs and political show GhanAkoma on Friday, September 3, Mr Ekow Assafuah told host of the show that “as a deputy chief whip for the caucus of Ashanti MPs, I am aware of a strategic plan to lobby for more developments as a form of reward to the region for maintaining NPP in power”.
The Ashanti Region during the just ended 2020 elections gave a massive 1.7 million votes, an overwhelming number that cancelled more than 9 regions won by the party’s archrivals, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
There has been surging agitations within the Region over what some describe as total neglect by the government in the face of developments and physical infrastructure.
But the Old Tafo MP has allayed those agitations and promised that the 43 Members of Parliament from the NPP’s World Bank have unanimously decided that, in their individual capacities, they will ensure a larger part of the national cake is directed to the region.
“To whom much is given, much is expected, so we can’t negotiate the infrastructural development of Ashanti Region especially Kumasi for anything because the region has been holding the party down since 1992.”
Meanwhile, the National Communications Officer of the NDC, has taken on Opoku Prempeh, over his threat to demonstrate against the government if the Keta Sea Defence project is captured in the 2022 budget.
Sammy Gyamfi insists that the statement by NAPO is a manifestation of tribalism and arrogance within the ruling NPP, and demanded the immediate retraction of the statement and chided NAPO for being insensitive to the plight of the Keta residents.
The NDC spokesperson defended the campaign by the NDC caucus in Parliament for the inclusion of the project in the 2022 budget.
“He has no sympathy for the people of Keta. A whole minister and you don’t feel any sympathy for people who have been hit with a disaster. Let’s assume without admitting that Kumasi has been hit with flooding, as a responsible minister, what you do is to call for help for both Keta and Kumasi people but you don’t threaten to embark on demonstration if Keta residents get help from the government. Are Kumasi people better than Keta residents?
“Why do you look down on people like that. Why is NPP so tribalistic? Is he against MPs advocating for provisions for Keta people? He is an MP so if he thinks Kumasi residents need help, he should advocate for them in Parliament. What kind of arrogance is that? What is wrong with MPs demanding help for victims of the tidal wave.
He should retract the statement”, he said.