04.08.2006 Business & Finance

Asamoah-Boateng Decries State Of Infrastructure In Mining Towns

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Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment has bemoaned the state of infrastructure in mining communities in the country, saying the facilities in some of the areas depicted "abject poverty, serious deprivation and wretchedness.

The Tarkwa township, Obuasi and Konongo are some of the areas the Minister was referring to.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng made these remarks when interacting with heads of decentralised public departments at Tarkwa, during a visit to the Wassa West district of the Western Region on Thursday.

He suggested that the various district assemblies must sit down and negotiate for improved economic, social and infrastructure development for their respective areas.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng said the activities of mining companies would engage his attention especially the effects of their operations on the ecology and also resettled communities.

"I want all mining companies to be fair, abide by all labour laws, trust and support the local people and ensure that their operations do not make life unbearable for communities", he stressed.

He said foreign mining companies operating in Ghana must conduct their activities to conform to international standards and meet local environmental laws of the various district assemblies.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng told the heads of departments that all efforts must be made to improve their resource mobilization at the local level; they must be innovative too.

He said several revenue sources in the districts remained untapped while those that were being collected were far below target.

At a meeting with the Assembly Members, the Minister reminded them that payment of ex-gratia to them could be easily done if they improved the mobilisation of their internally generated funds.

"People who collect these funds must be motivated, to work hard and monitored to prevent them from siphoning the monies", he added.

He said efforts were underway to increase the current five percent District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), saying it was too low.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng told them to be innovative, suggesting that that both solid and liquid waste could be used to generate energy to serve some communities if it was properly managed.

"Waste management should be professionally done and we must recruit people, to collect them at lorry parks, markets, homes and properly dispose them off at approved sites".

He said though waste management was expensive, it could be done more efficiently and urged communities to plant more trees and flowers-plants, to beautify the environment.

Mr Kwesi Ayensu, Wassa West District Chief Executive, said several parts of the Tarkwa township lacked access to landline telephones and that this was hampering communication.

He said a major challenge facing the Assembly was the increasing activities of galamsey operators.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng later inspected a two-storey Police barracks, the rehabilitated Tarkwa Methodist JSS and the construction of a 20 unit two-storey market stores.

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