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19.08.2004 Regional News

President urges newly created District Assemblies to remain focused

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Abokobi (G/R), Aug. 19, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday urged the newly created District Assemblies to remain focused in improving the basic necessities of life and to improve conditions in their areas.

"To this end, I urge the new Assemblies to do everything in their power to mobilise and galvanise their people in the town, area, urban and council levels to deliver services needed by the people," President Kufuor said.

President Kufuor gave the exhortation in a speech read on his behalf by Ms Elizabeth Ohene, Minister of State in Charge of Tertiary Education at the inauguration of the newly created Ga East District at Abokobi, the capital of the District on Thursday.

The Ga East District, carved out of the Ga District of the Greater Accra Region, is one of the newly created 28 Districts countrywide to bring the number of Districts, Municipalities and Metropolitan Areas to 138.

President Kufuor said Government was determined to empower Local Governments and communities to shape their future by giving them more resources and authority to improve their living standards. He noted that the compelling reason for the local government reform initiative was the systematic devolution of responsibilities and functions.

This required transfer of appropriate financial, staffing and technical resources and authority as well as establishing appropriate structures to allow for the full participation of the people in the development agenda of localities in particular and the nation as a whole.

President Kufuor said the rapid development of the country must be a shared responsibility of the Central Government, and more significantly, the District Assembly and the Communities.

The increase in the number of districts would accelerate the provision of necessary local infrastructure, enhance local service delivery and ensure equitable development countrywide.

President Kufuor reaffirmed Government's commitment to advancing the frontiers of local governance and democracy, and stated the objectives were in line with Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

He appealed to all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to co-operate with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in achieving the objectives of the Government' Decentralisation policy.

President Kufuor noted the lack of basic human service such as potable water, poor health conditions against poor revenue mobilisation for the provision of essential services and urged the District Assemblies to be imaginative and creative in exploring other sources of revenue to supplement what they receive from the District Assemblies' Common Fund.

"District Assemblies should redouble their efforts to ensure that revenue are properly accounted for and utilised for the benefit of the taxpayer," President Kufuor said.

The President announced that the Government had made adequate arrangements to resource all the new District Assemblies with new pick-up four-wheel drive vehicles, motorbikes and office equipment, which were being imported.

He said before they arrived, contingency arrangement had been concluded with the District Chief Executives of the already existing District Assemblies to share assets in a way that the new ones could take off immediately.

The President entreated members of the new Assemblies to regard themselves not as a privileged group but as steward with responsibility to serve the people.

The creation of the 28 new Districts resulted from a Special Committee set up by Government to look into the merits or otherwise of new Districts. This followed calls by a section of the Ghanaian population that existing Assemblies covered very large areas and made effective representation at the grassroots level participation in decision-making processes by the people rather difficult.

Mr Samuel Nii Attoh, Ga West District Chief Executive, who until the creation of the new district was the Ga District Chief Executive, said he hoped communities in the Ga East District would now have the opportunity to achieve fully their hopes and aspirations.

Nii Samuel Adjetey Mohenu, Chief of Abokobi, expressed gratefulness to President Kufuor for the creation of the new District Assemblies, as well as Ghanaians both home and abroad for pushing for the successful creation of the new Districts.

Nii Mohenu offered prayers before work commenced at the Assembly, and called for discipline, honesty and dedication to duty from members of the Assembly.

He asked the sub-committees to ensure that none of the communities in the District lagged behind in the provision of the socio-economic development infrastructure.

Ms Ohene later cut the sod for work to formally begin on the offices of the new District Assembly. 19 Aug. 04

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