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25.01.2005 Regional News

DCEs and MPs urged to co-operate - Bintim

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Accra, Jan. 25, GNA - Mr. Charles Bintim, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development designate has urged District Chief Executives (DCEs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) to interact regularly and plan together to enable them to utilise common funds made available for development.

He said the current situation where DCEs and MPs seem not to get on well over how to use their share of the common fund is unfortunate and regrettable.

Mr. Bintim gave this advice when he took his turn at the vetting of nominees for ministerial appointment on Tuesday at Parliament.

"I will encourage DCEs to involve MPs on the Tender Boards of District Assemblies so that they can collectively decide on the kind of projects they wish to implement and where it should be sited.

"By involving the DCEs and MPs in their activities, it would help curb the frequent allegations of misappropriation and corruption amongst themselves," he said.

Mr. Bintim said he would encourage district assemblies to release lands for farming and other ventures to create jobs and limit the drift of the youth from the rural areas to the cities in search of non-existent jobs.

He said even though he is in favour of vetting DCEs, that arrangement is the prerogative of the district assembly, adding that he would have wished that Local Government Act (Act 462) be amended to allow the position of a DCE to be elective.

"This will make them more accountable to the people since they could be voted out if they failed their people."

Mr. Bintim said if he gets the nod, he would not hesitate to order a forensic auditing of allegation levelled against a DCE since that is the only way to make them accountable, especially when they are accused of embezzlement.

On sanitation, the Minister-designate said, "as a result of poor planning of our towns and cities, sanitation has become a big problem in the urban areas, and I hope to manage it through capacity building and co-ordination of all stakeholders and other agencies to ensure that the sub-structures set up to handle sanitation live up to their work."

On internally generated funds, Mr. Bintim said the performance of the district assemblies in the collection of revenue has been very poor, "so they have diverted to the common fund for their development, which should not be so."

"We have to improve our internally generated revenue by involving the chiefs and building the capacity of the revenue collectors as well as educating the need for them to pay revenues charged."

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