The 20th biennial national delegates’ conference of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) has ended in Sunyani with the election of Bismark Baisie Nkum as the new President of the association.
In a fiercely contested election, Mr. Nkum, who is the District Chief Executive for Gomoa West, polled 553 votes to beat the incumbent President of the association, Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La, the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive who had 423 votes.
The other contender in the race, Emmanuel Asuah Dadzie managed to secure 273 of the total votes cast.
Williams Aduum polled 694 votes to retain his position as the 1st Vice-President while his challenger, Michael Boadi Sarpong secured 537 votes.
An Assembly-woman in the New Juaben North Municipality, Evelyn Dansoa Boateng, who holds Master of Technology (M-Tech) degree in Catering and Hospitality Education also maintained her position as the 2nd Vice-President, garnering 882 votes as against 363 votes by her main challenger, Richmond Amponsah Agyabeng.
Mariam Iddrisu was also elected as the Representative of the association’s women caucus while Seth Oduro Boadu won the position of the Treasurer, with Eric Kwaku Kusi and Prince S. Fiagadzi being elected as the 1st and 2nd Trustees respectively.
In his brief acceptance speech, the new NALAG President, Mr. Nkum reiterated his pledge to rebrand the association to make it better known to stakeholders in local governance and the public as a whole.
In this regard, he would pursue vigorous programs that would inure to the common interest of members of the association while ensuring that NALAG becomes a repository of local governance in the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
Addressing the conference earlier, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah noted that for the nation to realize the Ghana Beyond Aid vision by the President, there is the urgent need for metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to situate the government’s transformational flagship programs in the administration of local government.
The transformational flagship programmes, the Deputy Minister mentioned, include the Planting for Food and Jobs, One-District One-Factory, One-Village One Dam, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Infrastructure for Poverty Alleviation Programme, Free SHS, Digital Addressing System and E-Technology System, among others as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
“For us in the local government sector, therefore, the vision of Ghana Beyond Aid and SDGs will be largely realized if we work diligently and efficiently in delivering on the government’s flagship programs and the Global Goals”, he said.
Mr. O.B Amoah, who is also the MP for Akwapim South, entreated the leadership of NALAG to work with members to step up their efforts at avoiding over-reliance on central government transfers by improving on the mobilization of IGF as well link property rate collection with service delivery by spending a greater part of their IGF on development projects.
For her part, the Bono Regional Minister, Mrs. Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson, acknowledged the key role played by NALAG in Ghana’s decentralization process and the gains made in the regard so far.
“The gains chalked in our decentralization journey cannot and should not be trumpeted without acknowledging the key role played by NALAG, particularly since members are the driving force in all policy implementations in our quest to bring local governance to the door-steps of our citizens”, she said.
Among key areas which have engaged the attention of delegates were revenue mobilization, local economy, climate issues and Sustainable Development Goals.