Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, on Tuesday outlined the Ministry’s achievement over the past 16 months, with the most remarkable being the comprehensive roadmap guiding legislative reviews and consultation towards election of MMDCEs.
Hajia Mahama, at the Ministry’s turn of the “Meet-The-Press Series,” in Accra, said the Ministry had commenced sensitisation and consultations with key stakeholders towards a referendum in 2019 for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
She said within the period under review the nominations and confirmation of the MMDCEs was a historic one, as a total of 200 out of 216 were duly confirmed and approved by their assemblies.
She noted that the Ministry achieved 16 per cent representation of female MMDCEs (numbering 34) as against 8.8 per cent in 2016.
To increase participation of the citizenry in democratic governance, Government has created 38 new municipal and district assemblies, which had been successfully inaugurated and are in operation.
Hajia Mahama said contracts had been awarded for the construction of 20 district assembly administration blocks for assemblies created in 2007.
The Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, had setup a technical committee for the formulation of Local Government Financial Management Bill to incorporate municipal borrowing and financial memoranda.
The Minister said the Direct Transfers to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) had been increased from 35.10 per cent in 2016 to 46.52 per cent in 2017 and then to 53 per cent in 2018.
The Ministry had also minimised central level procurements for MMDAs using the District Assembly Common Fund.
Hajia Mahama said the Ministry, in collaboration with the Lands Valuation Division, had initiated actions to value and revalue all 254 MMDAs, with property in 60 assemblies being identified for valuation.
On provision of community-owned and managed small-scale irrigation facilities across the country, she said the Irrigation Development Authority had identified 1,221 potential dam sites suitable for the “One Village, One Dam” programme.
Of this number, technical appraisal for five sites in each of the 64 districts had been completed and 196 had been confirmed as suitable for development. The Ministry had also completed the construction of 51 small earth dams.
Hajia Mahama said the Ministry had procured a transaction advisor to conduct feasibility studies for the development of model markets in selected urban centres.
Following the completion of the studies, the advisor would work with the Ministry to identify investors for the construction of the markets, adding that the second phase of the Kumasi Kejetia Market had been initiated.
The Ministry had signed preliminary contract with Inspur Group of China for $39 million facility for the computerization and upgrading of teaching and learning programmes of the Institute of Local Government Studies to ensure distance learning for the Accra and Tamale campuses.
Hajia Mahama said the Ministry, as part of its programmes for 2018, would continue with the finalization of the Ghana Secondary Cities Support Programme; a $100 million urban project in partnership with the World Bank.
The programme would replace the Local Government Capacity Support Project, which ends in June this year.
She said the Ghana Productive Safety Net Project with the World Bank, estimated at 75 million dollars, and to be implemented jointly with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, would focus on support for poor households in Ghana.
“The Ministry is poised to pursuing and monitoring relevant policies towards deepening decentralization, good governance and balanced development in Ghana,” Hajia Mahama said.
At the press conference was Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Minister of Information, and his Deputy, Mr Perry Okudzeto; the three deputy ministers of Local Government; Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, Mr Collins Ntim, and Mr Kwasi Boateng Agyei; and Dr Nana Ato Arthur, the Head of Local Government Service.