Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Budget Statement.
Mr Speaker, I have done a thorough analyses of some paragraphs of this Budget Statement, particularly, the one to do with the water and housing sectors. I have also made some comparisons with previous Budget Statements, particularly, those of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It leaves me in no doubt that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government does not take the works of this once very powerful Ministry very serious.
Mr Speaker, water and housing are basic needs. In fact, they are human rights issues. We may be able to go round the country and do our businesses with dum sor. But nobody can sleep outside and nobody can do without potable drinking water.
Mr Speaker, time and again, the allocation to this Ministry has been decreasing over the years.
In 2013, we had GH¢598 million allocated to the Ministry. In 2014, it came down to GH¢531 million and in 2015, it further came down to GH¢463 million. This year, it is GH¢374 million.
Before I go on, Mr Speaker, let me refer Hon Members to page 109, paragraph 566 of the 2016 Budget Statement. With your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
“For the implementation of the above programmes and activities, an amount of GH¢1,418,584,338.00 has been allocated. Out of this, GH¢129, 322,964.00 is GoG, GH¢3,973,131.00 is IGF and GH¢241,485,516.00 is from Develop- ment Partners.”
Mr Speaker, this baffles me. This is because when I put these figures together, I only get GH¢374,781,611.00. Originally, I thought it was a typographical error. When this document was changed, the same figure came back. I do not know where these figures are coming from. It is misleading us. The figure is GH¢1,000,400.00, when they have only allocated GH¢374,781,611.00 for the Sector.
Mr Speaker, this Budget devoted only three paragraphs for the housing sector and that is very worrying.
Since the debacle of STX, this Government seems to have vacated its responsibility for providing housing or what we call affordable housing for its people. Year in year out, the focus on housing has been diminishing. This is borne out of the figures that I have given out.What is more worrying is that, these allocations, even when GH¢598 million was given at the end of the year --
We would see it very soon when we come to Annual Budget Estimates -- Less than 50 per cent of the moneys are released for the actual works. When it comes to expenditure on investment, sometimes, it is almost nil.
Mr Speaker, over the years, these Budget Statements have been touting 5,000 housing units. As I said, since the
debacle of 250,000 phantom units that were never built, 5,000 units since 2009 have never been completed.
Mr Speaker, this Government inherited nearly 5,000 housing units in various stages of completion and they decided not to complete them. Recently, we have seen in the Budget Statement some attempts at trying to complete them. It means that, over the seven-year period, not a single housing unit has been delivered to the public in terms of affordable housing units.
Meanwhile, in our documents, we claim that we have a deficit of about 1.7 million housing units. If we look at the National Development Planning Commission document, it means that as a nation, we should be building about 170,000 housing units annually. This is not to consider the fact that the population is still growing.
Ghanaians are forced to live in substandard accommodation. No effort is being made to solve this housing deficit.
Mr Speaker, if I look at paragraph 563, where it talks about human settlement and development programme, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote:
“Phase II of the construction of 368 housing unit for the security services in ongoing.”
This has been so for the past three years.
“The current work rate on the project of about 38 per cent…”
We are in 2015, we have only one year for this Government to end its eight-year mandate and we have only 38 per cent of work done. It continue to say that:
“….is expected to be completed in
Mr Speaker, if you look at the trend, next year, we would come here and we would probably be at 40 per cent.