Ho, Oct 30, GNA- Togbe Afede, Agbogbomefia of Asogli State on Saturday observed that the country's development challenges and drawbacks were not external, adding that debt cancellation was also not the solution to the socio-economic problems confronting the nation.
He therefore, pointed out that unless Ghanaians changed their attitude to hard work and unite in pursuance of the collective and corporate interests of nation building, "our development aspirations would prove illusive".
Togbe Afede was delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of the 11-member Ho Asogli Development Monitoring Committee being chaired by Togbe Adzie Lakle Howusu XII, Awafiaga of the Asogli State in Ho. The Committee is tasked to collaborate with government and relevant State agencies to track, monitor and evaluate public expenditure towards enhancing transparency, accountability, deepen democracy and rapid development.
Togbe Afede noted that the starting point was to improve upon governance and social accountability structures and ensure that governance was participatory, responsive, equitable and inclusive and follows rule of law.
"We need to uphold these ideals to ensure that corruption was minimized and the award of contracts and the administration of justice de-politicised with the views of the vulnerable and the minority parties heard", he advised.
The Agbogbomefia therefore, entreated Chiefs to be stewards in the fight to protect State resources and assets, in order, to save the teeming youth and posterity from excessive greed by few recalcitrant citizens adding, "this was necessary, if we are to leave a good legacy for our children".
Togbe Afede was hopeful that mainstreaming this ground breaking initiative into the development process, from conception through planning and budgeting to implementation and monitoring would remove all bottlenecks facing development.
He reminded members of the Committee that public service was an honour and a sacrifice and urged them to work courageously, selflessly and without fear or favour.
Dr William Ahazie, a lecturer at the University of Ghana said mainstreaming development monitoring at the district level would lead to a better management of expectations with civil society groups and communities, in addition to charting a better understanding of budgetary allocations and make choices a shared responsibility. He said this traditional monitoring system would further support greater transparency, integrity and remove the usual suspicion and threats of reprisals and provide a forum for closer collaboration among parties involved.
Dr Ahadzie however, said non-existence of policy advocacy in many districts assemblies coupled with lack of information and data and the fear of interference with district and regional administrations about policy direction were challenges of the initiative. Mr Kofi Tsikata, Communication Specialist at the World Bank, Ghana, said his institution would develop an information centre for the Asogli State and crave the indulgence of the traditional authorities to establish a community radio station, adding that information was key to the attainment of rapid socio-economic growth and development. He said their initiative would enable them to keep track of, for instance how much the municipal assembly receives from the road fund or policy implementation on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Mr Bruno Dery of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) said the Asogli initiative fitted into the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and advised the Committee to design a roadmap and strategies to actualise their dreams.
Mr. Mawutor Goh, Ho Municipal Chief Executive outlined that the Assembly's sources of finance were from the internally generated revenue, government grants and donor supports, which came with prescriptions and conditionalities.
He said rates and fees have remained the same on the statutory books over the years while tariffs and fuel prices continue to escalate with the assembly providing between 10 percent to 25 percent counterpart funding, which militated against revenue generation. Togbe Howusu, on behalf of the Committee thanked the Agbogbomefia for reposing the trust in them and gave the assurance that the Committee would not witch-hunt any agency but rather collaborate and complement the development aspirations of the area. Oct 30, 05.