Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the debate on the establishment of the Northern Development Authority.
Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the object of the Authority is to fast-track or ensure the development of the northern sector.
Mr Speaker, I looked at the objects of the Bill, and it is not different from the objects of SADA. So, in the first place, it is just a matter of a change of name. The issue about extending it to constituencies still does not make it different from SADA. We could even go beyond constituencies and extend it to electoral areas, but it is still within the zone, and for that matter, not different from SADA.
Mr Speaker, when we establish development Authorities, the object is to ensure that the Authority promotes the development of these areas. Development
goes with cost, and we must fund the development. So, my contribution is on how we would fund the Authorities.
Mr Speaker, I looked at clause 19 of the Bill, which talks about the sources of funding of the Authority, and the major one among them is the moneys approved by Parliament. “Moneys approved by Parliament” means that, the moneys are coming from the Budget.
Mr Speaker, if it is coming from the Budget, then we as Hon Members of Parliament, after passing this law and ensuring that we establish this Authority, must make sure that, when the Budget comes to this House, we ensure that adequate allocation is made for this Authority.
Mr Speaker, if not, they would be there in name for the sake of having an Authority. Yes, we may have established the Northern Development Authority or any other Authority, but the Authority cannot operate if we do not fund it.
Mr Speaker, we should therefore not create the Authority, probably because we have promised the people of the northern sector that when we come we would establish a development authority for them.
Mr Speaker, yes, we would establish the Authority, but if we do not provide them with the funding, they would just be there in name that there is an Authority, but they would not fulfill the object of that Authority.
Mr Speaker, if I look at other sources of funding of the Authority, I see an amendment that is being proposed by the Committee to ensure that, again, there would be an allocation of money for
infrastructure and a poverty eradication programme. Again, where would that money be allocated from? It is also going to come from the Budget.
Mr Speaker, therefore, apart from moneys approved by Parliament for the Authority, there must be allocation for infrastructure and a poverty eradication programme, which would also come from the Budget. So, in all, everything is coming from the Budget.
Mr Speaker, I have seen some areas also where we have “loans and grants”, which means that, we are giving power to the Authority to take loans.
However, are we putting in place measures to ensure that this Authority does not go and borrow beyond the capacity of the Authority, so that we reserve processes, such that when we come to the Consideration Stage, we would look at whether there are processes to follow to ensure that when the Authority wants to go and take a loan, it comes back to Parliament for approval so that, the Authority does not go to the market and borrow, and when they become debts, government would be called in to come and rescue?
Mr Speaker, therefore, my point simply is that, yes, we would establish the Authority, but we should bear in mind that the Authority cannot operate if there is no funding for it.
Mr Speaker, so, when the Budget for 2018 comes to this House, we should all ensure that, adequate resources are allocated for this Authority, in order to fulfill the object for their establishment.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.