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29.09.2002 General News

Rural Development Week

By GNA
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The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is to hold a rural Development Week from November 4 - 9, 2002 to showcase development projects undertaken so far since the New Patriotic Party (NPP) came to power.

Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey (rtd), Deputy Minister of Local Government and rural Development, announced this at the opening of a two-day meeting of District Chief Executives (DECs) drawn from Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and the Western regions at Bibiani on Friday.

The two-day meeting would discuss the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Health Insurance Scheme and tourism development.

Captain Effah-Dartey also announced that a Clean City Contest to select the cleanest city, town or village as part of the environmental cleanliness drive of the ministry would be held soon. He, however, did not give the date for the contest.

The Deputy Minister charged DCEs to be transparent in the award of contracts, saying that the District Tender Boards must be actively involved in the awards.

He explained that it was the manner in which the DCEs awarded contracts that had attracted media reports of corruption levelled against some of them, pointing out that in all such cases, investigations had revealed that the accusations were false.

Captain Effah-Dartey, however, warned the DCEs not to indulge in corrupt practices since anybody found would not be spared since the NPP had no room for corruption.

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, announced that the government had ordered 450 vehicles for the health sector and that the first batch of 70 had arrived and would be distributed to health personnel in the most deprived districts as part of incentives package for health personnel serving in the rural areas.

He said his ministry had almost completed the preparation of the Health Insurance Bill, which would be laid before Parliament when it reconvened, for approval.

Dr Afriyie said when the bill becomes law it would ensure that everybody belonged to a health insurance scheme and that it would cover those in the public and private sectors as well as the self-employed.

He said the government might appear to be slow in dealing with the problems of the country but it wants to ensure that anything it does is properly done.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, told the DCEs that the last quarter of the year, which he described as "the devil's quarter", would see a lot of financial activities in the districts.

He said besides the HIPC fund, which had been distributed to all the districts, the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund would be approved by Parliament for confirmation and that he would start the disbursement of the common fund.

This means that there would be a lot of money in the system, coupled with the fact that government's capital projects such as road construction and others would also commence.

The searchlight, Mr Aidoo said, was presently on the NPP and as such the DCEs should be careful how they handle all these funds reminding them of the zero tolerance for corruption.

Esenkese Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi, Omanhene of Sefwi-Anhwiaso Traditional Area, who chaired the function, noted that the impact of bringing decentralisation to the doorsteps of the people therefore would bring them closer to government.

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