Government is to accelerate the decentralization process this year to bring governance closer to the doorsteps of the people, Mr Anthony Evans Amoah, Western Regional Minister, said at the weekend.
Speaking at a People's Assembly at Sefwi Essam in the Bia District, he said district assemblies would be strengthened under the decentralization policy to facilitate governance at the grassroots.
Mr Amoah said Peoples' Assemblies were to take government to the people, to ascertain their views on government policies and programmes and learn at first hand the failures and shortcoming of government. He said the assemblies were not propaganda tools of the government to score political points but to facilitate the people's participation in governance.
Mr Amoah said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was to ensure a healthy population to assist in national development and should therefore, be embraced by all.
He said in the Region, the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District had registered the largest number of people for the scheme, while the Bia and the Mpohor Wassa East districts had recorded the lowest figures.
Mr Amoah said the National Secretariat of NHIS had taken delivery of new computers for the issuing of identity cards for clients and district offices of the NHIS would soon be supplied with computers to enable them provide identity cards to many registered people on the waiting lists.
He said the youth in the Region were not taking advantage of the Youth Employment Programme and wondered why this was so. Mr Amoah said about 8,000 persons had registered for various modules of the programme, adding that the figure was low considering the fact that some regions had registered about 20,000 people. He said the Regional Farmers Housing Scheme had taken off and the scheme, which was being implemented on a pilot basis, would be continued.
Mr Benjamin Armah, District Chief Executive, said the Assembly had undertaken a number of projects to improve the living standards of the people.
The projects included the construction of offices for area councils at Oseikojokrom, Adjuofua, Yawmatwa, Assemnyimakrom, Fosukrom, Essam-Debiso and Akaatiso.
Mr Armah said the Assembly had also constructed an ICT centre and an office for the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme at Essam in addition to the construction of classroom blocks at Mangoase, Abosi, New Papaase and Mfantiman.
Mr Kwesi Blay, Deputy Western Regional Minister, assured the people that poor roads in the area would be rehabilitated. Mr Joe Baidoo-Ansah, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Diasporean Relations, said plans were on the drawing board to develop the Bia National Park.
Mr Michael Boampong, Member of Parliament for Bia spoke against the rise in armed robbery in the area especially during the cocoa season. He urged assembly members to assist the Police to track down the armed robbers who attack passengers at night.