The vetting of John Ampontuah Kumah, the Deputy Minister-designate for Finance by Parliament’s Appointments Committee, witnessed heated exchanges between the nominee and NDC MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini.
The bone of contention, during the vetting, Wednesday, June 9, was in relation to which government should be credited for the Greenhouse Project in the country.
Alhassan Suhuyini’s contention was that some greenhouses built under the Greenhouse Project by the Youth Enterprise Support (YES), now National Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme (NEIP) were executed by the John Dramani Mahama administration and not the incumbent government.
He noted that these projects were funded with loans secured by the erstwhile Mahama administration but were not commissioned because they had to leave office.
“I have the records that show that this particular project was contracted to a Ghanaian company in April 2016. They started putting up these greenhouses in 2016 and by February 2017, 20 of them at least, were in full operation with about 75 at various stages of completion. It is not correct at all to say they were done under Nana Akufo-Addo,” he stated.
According to him, these projects were captured in a Daily Graphic publication on February 7, 2017 where Helga Boadi, the former CEO of YES was featured explaining the purpose of the greenhouses.
But after the change of name from Youth Enterprise Support to NEIB and the appointment of John Ampontuah Kumah, Mr Suhuyini said these projects were annexed to President Akufo-Addo.
In response, the Deputy Minister-designate for Finance, John Ampontuah Kumah stated that Mr Suhuyini’s account is not accurate. He explained that the construction and execution of the projects were taken up by President Akufo-Addo’s government.
“Let me acknowledge the role that the former President Mahama played in helping to make down payments for the greenhouses. But the construction and its execution started under President Nana Akufo-Addo.”
He disclosed that Ms Helga Boadi had completed 12 greenhouses when he took over and increased the number to 75 in five different regions.
“We introduced additional facility like the Nana Akufo-Addo Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” he added.
According to Mr Kumah, the President should be commended and not rebuked for undertaking such an initiative.
“I thought that we will be commending President Akufo-Addo for his patience and helping to ensure that the good initiative like that was going to be preserved and continued. So for him to be lambasted for hijacking and being called all kinds of name, I am surprised,” he stated.
He further revealed that there was a delay for him assuming office after his appointment at NEIB because his predecessor, Ms Boadi had not completed the first phase of the project.