04.07.2006 General News

District Assembly Common Fund Allocation To Be Increased -Minister

Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and EnvironmentMr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment
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The Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Environment would soon submit recommendations to the cabinet for consideration and approval to increase the allocation of the District Assemblies Common Fund to the assemblies for speedy development.

Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Sector Minister announced this at a two-day review workshop for Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, Rural Development and Environment at Agona Swedru in the Central Region. He stated that the increment of the Common Fund would go a long way to assist the assemblies to ensure that projects are completed with minimal delay.

Mr. Asamoah Boateng said the Ministry would solicit support from the Members of Parliament when the bills for the increment of the fund are laid before the House.

The Workshop is being organised by the Ghana Parliamentary Committee Support Project and sponsored by Parliamentary Centre.

The Minister stated that his Ministry will implement the committee's concerns raised on the issues that were common to the seven districts in the two regions where they had toured. He said some of the findings were institutional development, institutional linkages and co-ordination and operational performance.

Mr Asamaoh Boateng noted that a cabinet memorandum has been prepared in consultation with the Electoral Commission (EC) and submitted to Cabinet for consideration in the respect of the size, structure and composition of the sub-structure to enhance effective operation of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

The Minister said the Local Government Service will soon become operational to address the deficiencies in the staffing situation of the MMDAs as well as the gender issues raised and hoped that the Chairman of the Local Government Service Council and Head of Civil Service would collaborate to find lasting solutions to the problems.

He expressed concern about the Internal Generated Fund (IGF) of the District Assemblies, adding that strategies would be put in place to revamp the IGF for the development of the communities.

Mr Asamoah Boateng stated that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) was in the process of integrating the decentralised departments within the Ministry into MMDAs.

The Department are Births and Deaths Registry, Department of Community Development, the Department of Parks and Gardens and the Department of Town and Country Planning.

Mr Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah, Member of Parliament for Akrofuom and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, Rural Development and Environment said the President's re-creation of the Local Government and Environment Ministry will need motion to be laid before the House to effect change in the administration of the Ministry.

He noted that additional responsibilities had been done and Parliament had to use the correct procedure to avoid conflict and problems, saying the House recognise the implications of adding Environment to the Local Government Ministry.

Mr Appiah-Pinkrah said the Select Committee visited districts to find out problems, which hamper the effective operation and management of the decentralisation policy. He noted that some of the findings were that urban and town councils, which are main substructures of the District Assemblies are not functioning and there was the need to give them a push.

The Committee Chairman hoped that the workshop would help adopt a strategy to assist the decentralisation policy to work effectively and efficiently.

Mrs Gifty Adika, Information Resource Coordinator of the Ghana Parliamentary Committee Support Project stated that findings from the visit made by the Parliamentary Select Committee said, while significant progress has been made in the district toward local governance, there were issues that needed to be addressed to achieve the optimum from decentralization to promote development.

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