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Regional News Fri, 29 Nov 2002

Assemblies told to use funds appropriately

Kenyasi (Brong Ahafo) - Assembly Members have been urged to take full advantage of the Highly Indebted and Poor Countries (HIPC) and Social Investment (SIF) Funds to accelerate development of their communities.

Michael Nsiah-Agyapong, Asutifi District Chief Executive, gave the advice at the opening of a five-day training workshop for 31 assembly members in Kenyasi.

He reminded the members that the number of development projects they execute in their areas would be the base for assessing their stewardship at the end of their four-year term.

The workshop, which was being held in two batches for the 61 Members of the assembly, was under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and sponsored by the European Union.

It is aimed at exposing members to the practical work of in the district assembly system. Topics to be treated included the legislative provisions for Ghana's decentralisation, standing orders for district assemblies and roles and responsibilities of key actors at the district assembly.

Nsiah-Agyapong noted that the members were assuming office at a time when the HIPC relief fund of one billion cedis and the Social Investment Fund, comprising three projects estimated at ?504.0m among others were in place in the district.

Nsiah-Agyapong explained that the district assembly concept, which begun through the decentralization policy under PNDC Law 207, had complex internal and external relationships. He, therefore, urged members to take their deliberative, legislative and executive functions seriously so that they could make informed decisions during their sittings.

Nsiah-Agyapong enjoined the assembly members to keep close contact with the electorates to ensure a fair representation of their decisions. He identified poor revenue generation as the district's major bane and appealed to the members to salvage the district's sinking revenue base.

A former Brong-Ahafo Regional Administrative Officer, K.G. Asimenu advised the assembly Members to encourage the sampling of views for consensus building.

Source: GNA