ELVIS AFFRIYIE-Ankrah ELVIS AFFRIYIE-Ankrah, Deputy Minister-Designate for Local Government and Rural Development, yesterday earned the admiration of the Members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
With a high sense of sobriety, humility and candour, he virtually exposed the weaknesses of Fiifi Kwetey who was said to have done the exact opposite before the same Committee a few days ago.
The vetting of Afriyie-Ankrah started in a friendly atmosphere with intermittent humour and laughter as he answered various questions on his Curriculum Vitae including schooling, work experience; and pertinent issues relating to the Ministry with diligence, calmness, honesty and also courteously acknowledged any perceptible shortcomings since he was not yet at post.
His exemplary conduct was in sharp contrast with his colleague in the National Democratic Congress (NDC's) “Forum for Setting the Records Straight”, Fiifi Kwetey who appeared before the Appointments Committee for vetting recently looking belligerent, arrogant, pompous and seemingly hot-headed, as variously described by the Minority side in the Committee.
Fiifi Kwetey, Propaganda Secretary of the NDC, who has been nominated as a Deputy Minister for Finance has been in limbo and caught in a political quagmire since his acrimonious vetting because of lack of consensus within the Committee in endorsing his nomination.
All the nominees vetted after his appearance before the Appointments Committee have been unanimously approved by Parliament and yet, it is not even clear when the report on the NDC propaganda secretary would be laid before Parliament for approval because of series of alleged controversies surrounding his persona.
Conversely, a member of the Appointments Committee, who did not want to prejudge publicly, told DAILY GUIDE that Afriyie-Ankrah would be recommended unanimously for Parliamentary approval as he has not done anything to warrant the contrary.
In answering questions relating to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Afriyie-Ankrah, who is also a Deputy Secretary of NDC, said he would work assiduously with the substantive Minister to help address the myriad of challenges confronting the ministry.
According to him, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) which are under the Ministry of Local Government, lack the needed human resource capacities to operate effectively because of inadequate incentives that would attract people to the local level.
Consequently, the Deputy Minister-Designate said he would assist his immediate boss to look at alternative ways of raising extra funds on the capital market to complement the District Assemblies Common Fund and Internally Generated Funds for development.
He said the Ministry would ensure that the Assemblies improve on their resource mobilization; and transparency and accountability in the use of public funds for development projects so that the people at grass roots receive the maximum benefit of those investments.
In furtherance of this objective, Afriyie-Ankrah said all Districts would have to be provided with ICT and separate websites for people to effectively monitor the use of public funds, evaluate and track the performance of the Assemblies.
Furthermore, the Ministry would insist that Members of Parliament who are part of Tender Boards at the Districts are allowed to fully participate in all bidding processes to ensure more transparency and accountability.
According to Afriyie-Ankrah, chiefs who are the custodians of the land must and would be consulted and involved in issues of development in accordance with the constitution.
On the nagging issue of refuse in almost all the cities in the country, the Deputy Minister nominee said he would work with his boss to identify and pay all contractors who are owed by the Assemblies for them to clear the filth throughout the country.
He added that small contractors would be empowered to execute projects at the local or community level to minimize the practice of awarding all contracts to big ones.
Meanwhile, the Appointments Committee has suspended the vetting of the rest of the nominees indefinitely to pave the way for the consideration of other serious matters in Parliament.
The Chairman of the Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, announced that the vetting was being suspended to enable members who are part of Select Committees to consider the 2009 budgetary estimates for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to enable Parliament to pass the Appropriation Bill to make money available for these sectors.
By Awudu Mahama