He described the initiatives as all-inclusive and non-elitist and observed that over the years governments had concentrated on building huge hospitals, theatres and museums in cities, to the neglect of providing the basic needs of rural folks.
“For us as a government, we are very much concerned about the poor and rural communities. Many a time, development goals pursued by governments have been elitist. They focus on building huge hospitals, theatres and museums in the cities, to the neglect of the basic needs of rural folks.
“This is not inclusive enough. If we want to impact lives as governments, then we must prioritise the needs of rural communities which have remained excluded from government programmes over the years,” he added.
Dr Bawumia was speaking at a special breakfast meeting with Caribbean and African Heads of Missions as part of his visit to Havana, Cuba, last Friday.
The One million dollar per constituency policy forms part of the government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP).As part of the programme, each of the 275 constituencies is to be allocated the equivalent of $1 million annually to be invested in infrastructure of the people’s choice.
It is being implemented and managed by the three development authorities (the Northern, the Middle Belt and the Coastal Development authorities) under the Office of the President.
The activities of the authorities are supervised by the Minister of Special Development Initiatives.
Letters of commencement
Last week, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, issued letters of commencement to the three development authorities to begin full implementation of the One million dollar per constituency policy.
An amount of GH¢1.66 billion (equivalent to $320 million) will be disbursed to all 275 constituencies across the country.
The fund covers $275 million for the 275 constituencies and an outstanding commitment fund of $45 million.
According to Dr Bawumia, the government designed the policy to cater for the basic needs of the poor. The projects envisaged include lavatories, drainage, dams for all-year-round farming, potable water, footbridges, community town centres, reshaping of roads, renovation of schools and the provision of desks for schools.
Since 2017, there has been budgetary allocation to every constituency in the country. However, due to the delay in establishing the three development authorities, the $1 million per constituency had been temporarily administered through the Minister of Special Development Initiatives.
The three development authorities have since been established by an Act of Parliament and are fully operational, hence the issuance of the letters of commencement by the government to the authorities to begin the implementation of constituency-specific infrastructure needs.