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18.08.2005 General News

Assemblies urged to study trends in CPI

GNA

Accra, Aug. 18, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday stressed the need for metropolitan and municipal assemblies to study trends of consumer price index in order to address issues affecting its populace.

He announced that the Ghana Statistical Service has begun compiling and publishing a monthly consumer price index and inflationary trends that would enable them to be aware of trends in areas such unemployment, migration and agriculture.

Mr Baah-Wiredu was speaking to members of the Finance and Administrative Committee of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) at a meeting held in Accra.

The meeting was to enable the Minister to brief the committee members on the overview of economic targets and objectives for this year and the need to increase the AMA's revenue base.

He noted that there had been successes in the areas of inflation, exchange rates and interest rates but said the delayed and slow inflow of external development and budgetary assistance had negatively impacted the overall fiscal performance.

On agriculture, Mr Baah-Wiredu said there was the need for farmers to grow more crops adding, "food take 50 per cent of inflation in Accra." He suggested to AMA to mobilise vegetables and fruits farmers to increase their output and reduce poverty and unemployment in the Metropolis.

He pointed out to the AMA to take a look at the possibility of storing rainwater from the Aburi area in a reservoir for irrigation purposes; saying would help to control flooding in Accra. Mr Stanley Adjiri-Blankson, Chief Executive Officer, AMA told the Mr Baah-Wiredu that Accra had overgrown and it was not proper to classify it as part of the 138 districts.

He said due to the inadequate funds allocated to the Assembly over the years the Assembly lacked adequate staff, logistic and vehicles. Accra Mayor said AMA used to have 500 metro-guards in the days of independence working at t he assembly but regretted that the number had dropped to 140. "The Assembly which had 28 building inspectors have now been left with only 12 to inspect various buildings."

He said the Assembly was prepared to mobilise more revenue but pleaded with the Minister to give it some grants to operate. "It is true that AMA is sitting on gold and would be able to fund itself but we need in puts to mine that gold, in fact the Ministry of Finance should put us on a sound track so that we can perform," the Mayor said.

Mr Adjri-Blankson mentioned the street naming and numbering of houses, constructing a more modern market complex at Salaga market, renovating and building of car parks as some of the priorities of AMA. He recalled that out of the 126 billion cedis earmarked for AMA only 40 billion cedis had been released and pleaded with the Ministry of Finance to attend to their needs with urgency.

Dr James F. T. Awaitey, AMA Budget Officer, called for the deepening of decentralisation process so that new districts, which were created, could get their respective offices.

He said the Assembly had begun with a private public participation in their revenue collection.

Shiekh Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister, lauded the Ministry's initiative to come down to various assemblies to ascertain problems facing them.

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