The Minority Caucus in Parliament is warning the government to ensure that the Green Ghana Day is not used as an avenue of exploitation to enrich a few.
According to members of the caucus, such programmes in the past, have been used to siphon money from the state and the taxpayer.
Green Ghana Day is an initiative launched in March 2021 by President Akufo-Addo through the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources aimed at planting trees across the country.
The maiden edition was held on June 11, 2021, where an estimated seven million tree seedlings were planted across the nation.
According to an account made by the president, 85% of trees planted during the maiden edition were successful.
In the second edition of the project, the president announced government’s plan to plant an additional 20 million trees in support of the Green Ghana Project in 2022.
But speaking in Parliament on June 9 to mark the third edition of Green Ghana Day, the Deputy Ranking Member on the Lands and Forestry Committee, Alhassan Suhuyini raised the concern that government has not been transparent in accounting for the monies that go into the project.
Mr Suhuyini said “The President in 2022, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA), revealed to this House that they had successfully planted 7 million trees, 2 million more than was initially planned to be planted. However, the Minister, weeks earlier, in an answer to a question in this same house, reported that only about 4.89 million trees were planted.
“Mr Speaker the question therefore is, how many trees indeed were planted and how much did we throw at the plantation of these trees?” he interrogated.
Furthermore, Mr. Suhuyini stated that parliament should ensure that this initiative does not become an institution that siphons taxpayer funds, as climate finance must be optimised for impact and effectiveness.
Additionally, he stressed that the ultimate way to ensure the aforementioned is for parliament to ensure that, “strategies are put in place to change finance and to ensure that finance that is meant for climate change and its mitigation and its adaptation are not misapplied and also give us [Ghanaians] less optimal value.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor provided an update on the two previous Green Ghana editions to the House.
He claimed that the success rate of the planting done in 2021 amounted to an excess of 80%, whereas that of the planting done in 2022 was an excess of 70%.
The Minister also reiterated that Green Ghana Day is one of the efforts made by government to replenish Ghana’s depleted forest cover and support the world’s efforts to halt climate change.
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