FLASHBACK: The Odaw river being desilted
FLASHBACK: The Odaw river being desilted

Parliament approves $150m GARID funds

The Ministry of Finance has explained that the additional $150 million World Bank financing for the implementation of solid waste management, drainage improvement and other mitigation measures will help to prevent floods in the Greater Accra Region.

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A statement from the ministry said the fund would support a broad range of initiatives targeted at mitigating flooding and improving solid waste management in the Odaw River Basin under the Greater Accra Resilience and Integrated Development (GARID) project.

It said the money would be invested in repair works on sections of the Odaw Basin, construction of storm drains in Kaneshie and Nima-Paloma, and the establishment of flood early warning systems in the region.

Additionally, the funds would be used for the construction of waste transfer stations and an engineered landfill site, among other interventions. “The implementation of these projects is expected to alleviate flooding along the Odaw River Basin by improving drainage, solid waste management and infrastructure services in high-risk informal settlements within the basin,” the ministry added.
Benefits

The statement further said that at least half a million people dwelling in low-income communities around the Odaw Basin were expected to benefit directly from those projects. It added that disbursements under the project and other expected inflows from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the African Development Bank would also support the exchange rate and microeconomic stability.

The ministry assured stakeholders that it would continue to work with relevant institutions to ensure the facility was well utilised to achieve its project development objectives.

Parliament

Parliament last Friday approved the $150 million facility as additional funding for the ongoing GARID project. After an unsuccessful attempt by the Minority side to block the loan approval, the House eventually approved it at the end of a headcount that saw 137 Ayes and 132 Nays.

The Minority side said after the initial $200 million was approved for the project more than two years ago, not much had been achieved, hence there was no need for the additional financing.

The NDC MP for Ho West, Emmanuel Bedzrah, urged the Speaker to call on the World Bank to institute a forensic audit into the project. “We are saying this because we have noticed that payments were made but there is nothing to show for this project and so why should we continue to borrow more money?,” he quizzed.

Responding to the concerns, the Finance Minister, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, assured the House that he had started discussions with the responsible ministry on how they could ensure that the projects were done to specification.

“So, Mr Speaker, the ministry responsible will be charged to follow up on the activities required to be done and I will make sure that I work with them to carry out these activities.

“I will want to be here within two weeks, Mr Speaker, to give a comprehensive report on the extent to which these activities have been carried out. I urge the House to approve the facility,” he said.

Background

The GARID project is a five-year initiative that was rolled out by the government with funding from the World Bank as part of the Greater Accra Climate Risk Mitigation Strategy to build resilience against the perennial flooding of the capital city.

The project was conceived in the aftermath of the flood disaster in Accra on June 3, 2015, which claimed almost 200 lives. Based on the flood risk mitigation investment alternatives for the Odaw Basin that was carried out, the GARID project was rolled out to implement drainage interventions that would help to improve the Odaw drain and curb flooding in the city.

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