Sambuli (N/R), Feb 20, GNA - Mr Charles Bintin, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and MP for Saboba, has called on the people to support the effort of the Majority in Parliament to pass the Representation of the People's Amendment Bill (ROPAB).
Addressing the chiefs and people of Sambuli in the Saboba/Chereponi District during their annual guinea corn on Saturday, he said it would enable Ghanaian citizens living abroad to have the right to vote in general elections.
The Minister pointed out that members of the opposition parties who were against its passage because of its financial implications were the same people pressing for the state funding of political parties. The festival is to give thanks to the gods for giving the people a good harvest.
He stated that "Does it make sense for government to fund political parties seeking power while it cannot use resources to ensure that its citizens living abroad and contribute to the growth of the national economy do not have the right to vote to elect their representatives to take decisions on their behalf and in their interest," the MP queried. Mr Bintin said that he had met representatives of some political parties in his constituency and explained the Bill to them, adding that they gave him the assurance that they would support it and urged him to fight for its passage.
Mr Bintin advised the people to bury their political differences and to unite for the development of their area saying, "No intervention by any NGOs can ever alleviate your poverty if you don't take your destiny into your own hands".
He urged the people to take the education of their children very seriously since it was the only way to improve their environment and living conditions.
The MP recounted a number of educational and health infrastructure the government had provided in the district from 2001 to 2005 including the building of 20 new schools, five clinics and the sinking of 40 boreholes for the people to get potable water. Mr Bintin warned them against bush fire and asked them to settle land disputes amicably to enhance development. The Minister explained the rationale for the recent increase in petroleum products and appealed to the people to bear with the government.
Mr Bintin later donated a grinding mill to the women of Sambuli to enable them to process their cereals instead of using stones.
Mr Azumah Sanda, District Chief Executive (DCE), said between January and November last year the District Assembly received 5.4 billion cedis as its share of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for projects.
He said 1.8 billion cedis out of the amount was spent on education, 396.6 million cedis on health and 149.3 million cedis on environment while 1.9 billion cedis was used on local governance and administration with 827.5 million cedis going into the economic sector.
The Assembly collected about 296.3 million cedis representing 70.29 per cent out of the target revenue of 421.6 million cedis.
The DCE explained that the amount was not used for capital expenditure because it was collected in bits and therefore was used for administrative work, development and peace and security issues.
Mr Sanda said the Assembly would continue to benefit from the HIPC Relief Funds and other interventions, adding that very soon a contract would be awarded for the improvement of the Nnalog-Sambuli feeder road under the Community Based Rural Development Project at the cost of over 700,000 million cedis.
Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, urged the people to change their attitude towards revenue mobilisation and help the Assembly to collect enough money for development. He explained that the amount of the Common Fund the Assembly gets was based on the revenue generated locally and urged them to pay their taxes in order to meet the budgeted target.
The DCE advised the people to take advantage of the capitation grant to enrol their children, saying there was no excuse for any parent to blame poverty for not sending their children to school. Mr Adam also urged them to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme and to pay their premium to get access to quality health-care at an affordable cost.
Ubor Gnafori Dulinyor, Chief of Sambuli, appealed to the government for the provision of an irrigation facility to enable the people to undertake dry season farming.
He expressed concern about the declining moral values among the youth and appealed to the elderly to inculcate discipline and respect for authority in the youth.