The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tamale North constituency, Alhassan Suhuyini says the Green Ghana initiative needs clear-cut mechanisms to enable proper tracking of its progress.
Speaking in an interview on Eyewitness News on Citi FM in Accra on Friday, Mr Suhuyini said this was also to ensure that the scheme did not become one used to siphon money.
“The Green Ghana programme is well-intentioned. Year in, year out, money is allocated to it. We are told the number of trees that are planted, but there are no clear-cut mechanisms to determine if the numbers that are churned out are actually being planted on the ground. We are told of percentages of performance, but we do not know the criteria used to determine percentages of success when it comes to how well-planted trees are doing.”
“The issue of contracting is not clear. We do not know if people are contracted based on competitive bidding or handpicking. That is why I said that as much as this is important and has to be done, it has to be done in such a way that it does not become a scheme that is just meant to siphon money. If it is Green Ghana, it must be Green Ghana and not Green Corruption.”
The Tamale North MP said that the country had spent close to GH¢500 million on national afforestation programmes in the last five years, but the level of devastation to the forests was high.
“So there is the need for us to ask ourselves what we are getting for how much we are putting into projects aimed at protecting our forests and improving the forest cover in the country, when the records show that there is a high rate of depletion of our forest.”
Mr Suhuyini said that the Lands Minister had said that 4.89 million trees were planted in 2021, but the President, a few weeks after the Minister’s announcement, said that 7 million trees had been planted. This did not sit well with him.
“I recall that in 2022, I filed a question for the Minister to tell us how many trees had been planted, how many contractors were used, and all of that. He provided that information, and it was that information I used in my debate. The Minister at the time told us that 4.89 million trees had been planted for the 2021 season. However, a few weeks later, the President said that they had planted 7 million trees. That, for me, was a significant difference.”
He said that a verifiable formula would help to tell if, for instance, “we are planting 10 million trees this year, and next year, 70% of those trees are doing well. The clear-cut formula that is verifiable by anybody who wishes to verify would tell that indeed those trees are doing well.”