10.09.2005 General News

Veep disquiet about spate of armed robbery

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Accra, Sept. 10, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, who is disquiet about the rising crime rate in the country, has called on chief executives of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, to facilitate efforts to clamp down the activities of criminals.

"We are receiving increasing reports of armed robberies in residential areas and highways, snatching of cars, mobile phones, wrist watches and gold chains.

" The activities of these criminals have serious implications for business activities and the national economy. This is a matter of grave concern to Government and indeed to all peace loving citizens", he said at the close of a five-day orientation workshop for the chief executives.

Alhaji Mahama said peace was the precondition for any meaningful development and investment and therefore, charged the chief executives and the various local security councils, to be fully alert and take measures that would encourage people to go about their legitimate businesses without fear.

The workshop, organised by the Ministry of Local Government And Rural Development in collaboration with the Institute Of Local Government Studies was on the theme: " Moving Decentralisation Forward Through Effective Leadership."

It was aimed at ushering in newly appointed chief executives and refresh the knowledge and skills of those re-appointed. The Vice President said since the chief executives were the conduit of Government policies they should be tactful, hard working and good social mixers.

"Since you personify the central government at the grassroots, you are to live above reproach, as your actions are likely to be viewed by the people as coming from the centre. The portrayal of a good image of the central government will very much depend on you," he noted.

"We do receive complaints from the people that some of you are not accessible. I know this can be the most difficult role of a political appointee, but this is the lot of a servant-leader and you should learn to sacrifice for the good of the people."

Alhaji Mahama said the Executive was aware of the bad blood between some district chief executives and key operatives in their localities, and attributed it to personal ambition, petty jealousies and misinformation.

He said, what was at stake was not who was important in a district, but how to reverse unemployment, especially amongst the youth, poverty and disease.

The Vice President expressed concern about the poor sanitation in the cities and urban areas, saying the refuse piles, choked gutters and drains in especially the metropolitan assemblies expose the weaknesses in the management of the assemblies.

"Closely related to this, is the need for all assemblies to generate revenue internally. Indeed, if district assemblies can generate more revenue internally and stop the over dependence on the District Assemblies' Common Fund you would be solving more than 50 per cent of the problems facing the district assemblies," he said.

The workshop exposed the participants to five modules, which comprised: "Ghana's Decentralisation Process", "Financial Responsibilities Of The Local Government System", and "Interacting With Ministries, Departments And Agencies On Sectoral Initiatives At The Local Level".

The rest were: "The Assembly, Planning, Poverty Reduction And Local Socio-Economic Development" and "Leadership For Local Level Development".

Mr. Charles Bintin, Minister of Local Government And Rural Development said the workshop offered the participants the opportunity to learn about the National Health Insurance Scheme and District Responsive Initiative to HIV/AIDS.

He said the topics for future workshops would include: "Environmental Management, Sanitation and the Role of Assemblies", " Financial Management, Monitoring The Use of Assembly Resources, and "The Role of Traditional Authorities In Local Governance". "Public Private Partnerships At The Local Level" " Popular Participation And Community Engagement In Local Governance In Ghana" and "Relations Between Non-Governmental Organisations And Civil Society Assemblies" would also be considered. 10 Sept. 05

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