Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson has said Ghanaians should blame the quality of dams being constructed under the ‘One Village One Dam’ project on the budget allocated to her ministry to take care of the projects.
The minister, who has been heavily criticised for the poor quality of dams being built under her watch in the 5 regions of the north, said although the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to build dams in villages to help with irrigation farming, they did not promise “meaninful dams”.
According to the Minister who is also the MP for Awutu Senya East in the Central Region, the cost of the dams being constructed amount to about 250,000 cedis which she said cannot build the dams Ghanaians expect from the Akufo-Addo government.
“We [NPP] said one village, one dam. We didn’t say…one village, one Bui dam or Akosombo dam…Look at the cost, 250,000 Ghana cedis [but] if you are constructing a meaningful dam you don’t need anything less than 3 million dollars; 3 million dollars oo, not Ghana cedis,” he told journalists in Parliament.
In a video footage of an interview Madam Koomson granted Ghanaweb, that has gone viral on social media and infuriating Ghanaians due to the Minister’s posture, she questioned why some Ghanaians would complain about the poor quality of dams being constructed by the Akufo-Addo government when the funding is small.
“…if I’m constructing a 250,000 Ghana [cedis] dam, then what kind of dam are you expecting from me?” she asked.
Recently, some residents in some of the areas where the dams are being constructed expressed reservations about the nature of the dams. Some said the work done in the area was shoddy and are not fit for agricultural purposes.
Some residents of the Upper East region have also begun questioning the quality of dams that have been constructed for them.
According to the residents who spoke to A1 Radio’s Joshua Asaa, what has been constructed are not dams but dugouts.
The Zuarungu Gono Dam
Reports state the Upper East region was allocated 140 of the dams promised, however, only 40 are said to have been constructed in all the 15 municipalities and districts.
In Bongo and Bolgatanga the residents said the dams had become death traps having claimed six lives in the two areas.
But the Upper East Regional Minister, Paulina Patience Abayage who spoke the Joy News reporter expressed regrets about the deaths recorded at the project sites and vowed not to sign contract certificates for the dams that have defects.
“Some of them have been defective. Two of them have come to my attention so far; one in Kajelo in the Kassena-Nankana West District and one in Soe in the Bolga Municipality,” the Minister said.
But Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in his defense, said the dams were not to built like the Akosombo dam.
“With reference to the model of the dams being constructed, it must be noted that the beneficiary communities, in requesting for the dams, did not request an Akosombo-like type of dam. The model and specification of dams requested for under this programme are the exact type known to the people in the beneficiary communities,” he said at a press conference last month .