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14.05.2004 General News

Government determined to make decentralisation a reality - Adjei-Darko

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Tongo (U/E), May 14, GNA - Mr. Kwadwo Adjei Darko, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) on Thursday said the government would continue to adopt policies and programmes aimed at making the decentralisation process a reality. He said it was for this reason that the government had created new districts and elevated some existing ones into municipalities to widen local level decision-making as the cornerstone of good governance.

Mr. Adjei-Darko was speaking at a durbar of the chiefs and people of newly created Talensi/Nabdam District in the Upper East Region as part of a two-day working visit. He had earlier visited the new Garu-Tempane District, which was carved out of the former Bawku East District. He told the people that government saw the need to speed up the decentralization process because it would bring governance to the doorsteps of the people, adding that his visit was for him to take stock of facilitates for the smooth take-off of the new districts.

The Minister said while the necessary legislative instruments had been laid before parliament, his Ministry through the National Service Scheme (NSS) had taken on volunteers to form the core of technical staff for the new districts.

Mr. Adjei-Darko said the volunteers, including planning officers, accountants, engineers and middle level technical staff, would be trained before being posted and urged the people to support and cooperate with them when they started work.

On local revenue mobilization, the Minister told the new districts not to put all their hopes on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), reminding them to disabuse the idea, "that the common fund alone can do the magic". He urged the people to pay their taxes promptly, help the Assemblies to collect revenue and maintain the peace to attract investors.

The Local government Minister also called on supporters of political parties to use decent language during their campaigns, pointing out that peace and unity of purpose were necessary for rapid socio-economic development. He also advised the people to vote wisely in the upcoming general election. In a statement, the Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Rockson Bukari said the challenges of a new district were enormous, adding that the people could only make a difference through self-determination and hard work. He stressed the need for the district to invest resources to develop its abundant eco-tourism potentials, adopt new ways of mobilizing local revenue and create a good environment to attract business enterprises.

Mr. Bukari urged the chiefs and people of the area to release land under reasonable terms for development projects, saying the Municipal Assembly would assist the new district to stand on its feet. Also at the durbar were the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr. Andrew Awuni, the Members of Parliament (MPs) for Talensi and Nabdam, Mr. John Tia and Mr. Moses Asaga.

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