The Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is hopeful government will, next year, introduce a levy on non-petroleum imports to serve as a steady flow of resources and source of financing to its operations.
The introduction of the levy is a requirement under the authority’s Act, the SADA Act, 2010 (Act 805), which says that government should get Parliament to approve levies on non petroleum imports and use the proceeds to finance its projects.
But six years after the authority was established, the levies have still not been introduced and that has forced SADA to continually rely on the benevolence of development partners, remnants of its GH¢100 million seed capital and interest from its investments, among other ancillary sources of funding
With the implementation of its much touted Master Plan drawing closer, SADA’s Chief Executive Office, Charles A. Abugre, has said that the authority was now preparing to advocate for the levy to be introduced by the Ministry of Finance to help bring projects captured under the plan to reality.
The preparation, he said, involved the costing of the 12 game changer projects captured under the 25-year old medium term plan.
Mr. Abugre explained that the cost estimates were needed to serve as a trump card in asking the government to introduce the levy and use its proceeds to partly finance the implementation of the projects.
“We think that before we can ask the minister of finance or the president to ensure that the non petroleum levy is instituted through Parliament, we have to first cost the projects and create the financing vehicle and the management structure that will give comfort to Ghanaian taxpayers that these monies will be properly managed,” he said.
Approval by NDPC
The SADA Master Plan is a 25-year blueprint that puts strong emphasis on the development of agriculture, tourism, education and infrastructure, among others.
The authority is hopeful its successful implementation will help transform the Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ), comprising 64 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in five regions, from a region of underdevelopment to one that abounds in opportunities for investors and its residents.
Mr. Abugre said the plan would be available for approval by the National Development Authority (NDPC) in the first quarter of next year to pave the way for actual implementation to begin in the same quarter.
Projects in the plan have been aligned with the country’s 40-year National Development Plan, which the NDPC is working at introducing.
They are also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which means that their successful implementation will fast track Ghana’s achievement of the common development goals set for the entire work by the United Nations (UN).
Game changer projects
In the plan, the authority has identified projects that it hopes will help catalyse development and lift thousands of the residents out of poverty. They include the construction a new Tamale central business district to fuel growth, the construction of an inland port at Buipe and the turning of the Buipe township into a port city, the construction of an agriculture processing park at Kintampo and the development of a dry port, logistics center and a free trade zone in Bolgatanga to help diversify the local economy there.
They also include plans to develop a 30-hectare tourism cluster and the development of water transport, both in the Volta Region.
The rest are a 600-hectare industrial park in Wa, a 100-hectare aquaculture center at Dambai in the Northern and a 1,080-kilometer North-South highway that is expected to help ease traffic in Accra and Tamale while lessening the challenges associated with cross border trade.
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