The Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini, has called for more transparency and accountability in the Green Ghana initiative, a national programme to plant trees and restore the forest cover of the country.
In an interview on Eyewitness News on Citi FM in Accra on Friday, Mr Suhuyini said that there should be clear mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the progress and impact of the initiative.
He said that he was concerned that the initiative could be used as a means to divert funds without delivering on its objectives.
“The Green Ghana initiative is a good idea. Every year, money is allocated to it. We are told how many trees are planted, but we don’t have clear ways to verify if those numbers are accurate or if the trees are growing well. We are told about percentages of success, but we don’t know how they are measured or what criteria they use.”
“We don’t know how the contractors are selected or if there is any competitive bidding or due diligence. That is why I said that this initiative has to be done properly and not become a scheme for corruption. If it is Green Ghana, it should be Green Ghana and not Green Corruption.”
The Tamale North MP said that according to his research, the country had spent almost GH¢500 million on afforestation programmes in the past five years, but the forest degradation was still high.
“So we have to ask ourselves what we are getting for our money and how effective these programmes are in protecting and improving our forest cover, when the records show that we are losing our forest at a high rate.”
Mr Suhuyini also questioned the discrepancy between the figures given by the Lands Minister and the President on how many trees were planted in 2021.
“I remember that in 2022, I asked the Minister to tell us how many trees were planted, how many contractors were used, and all that. He gave us that information, and I used it in my debate. The Minister said that 4.89 million trees were planted in 2021. But a few weeks later, the President said that they had planted 7 million trees. That was a big difference.”
He said that there should be a verifiable formula to determine how many trees were planted and how well they were doing.
“For example, if we plant 10 million trees this year, and next year we find out that 70% of them are doing well. There should be a clear formula that anyone can use to check that those trees are actually doing well.”