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17.07.2009 Politics

Minister urges Assembly members to avoid trivial, divisive issues

By gna
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Lawra, July 16, GNA – Mr. Mahmud Khalid, the Upper West Regional Minister, has appealed to assembly members to avoid trivial issues and divisiveness that could derail the development agenda of their districts.

He urged them to concern themselves with providing education, agriculture, health, potable water, electricity and other social amenities to help reduce poverty.

Mr. Khalid was addressing members of the Lawra District Assembly at its first ordinary meeting at Lawra on Tuesday

He said there were huge expectations by the people and that district assemblies could do more to improve their living conditions.

Mr Khalid said they should be mindful of those expectations when they are drawing their annual and medium term plans and programmes.

“We should work to meet the demands of the people and where we cannot, we must be able to explain issues in a transparent manner for them to appreciate”, he said.

Mr. Khalid said internal revenue generation in many of the assemblies had suffered a downward trend in recent years with assembly members looking helpless to the extent that when external support was delayed the operations of the assemblies came to a halt.

He therefore urged the members to let the people know their responsibilities to the assemblies, especially the payment of taxes because revenue generation is a key to the success of the assemblies.

Mr. Khalid urged members of the assemblies to demand accountability from revenue collectors while they also show transparency on how the assemblies' finances are utilized.

“Huge government releases and donor funds should reflect in a change in the lives of the people.”

“Budgets of district assemblies must be open documents which should be made available to any member of the public. That is the only way that the people will build trust in us and have a sense of belonging to our assemblies”, he said.

Mr. Khalid called on the members to develop strategies to stop the youth from indulging in alcoholism, drug abuse and sexual promiscuity to avoid wastage in human resources.

He said government was committed to deepening and strengthening the decentralisation system and urged assembly members to develop the best ways for the people to benefit from government's initiatives and interventions.

Mr. Samson Abu, Lawra District Chief Executive, cautioned the house against habits and acts that are counter productive and incite ethnic and partisan sentiments.

"Already rearing its ugly head in some assemblies is the power struggle going on between elected assembly members on the one hand and the government appointed ones on the other", he said.

He appealed to the members to bring their varied expertise and skills in collaboration with chiefs, opinion leaders and unit committee members to work as a team and avoid tendencies that are likely to undermine peace, unity and development.

GNA

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