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Regional News Tue, 24 Feb 2004

Development Strategies of Asante-Akim South District Assembly For 2003

The Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462 designates the District/Municipal/Metropolitan Assemblies as the development and planning authorities. District assemblies are not merely administrative entities, but also economic management entities whose efficiency are essential to effective National Development.

The district assembly constitutes the very spot, which could ensure participatory democracy at the grassroots level and bring government to the doorstep of rural people. It has aroused local initiative and made possible a great leap in development in rural areas.


It could, therefore, be said that the decentralisation policy adopted in 1988 had shaped the contours of public administration reform, local government reform and development thinking which together are exerting strong influence on governance. The desirable development places special burden on district assemblies and their key officials to play very important roles to promote the change envisage by their policies.


JUDICIOUS USE OF FUNDS


It is, therefore, gratifying to note that the Asante-Akim South District Assembly with its headquarters at Juaso has used its internally generated funds, District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF); Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund to pursue programmes which have created access roads, where these did not exist and provided blocks of classrooms where children were attending classes in dilapidated classrooms or under trees.


The assembly has provided medical clinics where there was no health service infrastructure, provided potable water, power where there was no electricity supply and sanitation services to improve the environment. The Assembly in 2003 disbursed a total of 3.3 billion cedis of the DACF allocated to it to undertake 16 projects including the construction of school blocks at Yawkwei and Obogu, medical ward at Juaso District Hospital, 16-seater aqua privy toilets at Asankare and Juaso.


Other projects are the renovation of court buildings, staff bungalows, connection of water supply to assembly bungalows, construction of semi-detached quarters for assembly, net-working of computers for the administration, completion of Police quarters and construction of area council office for Obogu/Morso, and the construction of nurses' quarters at Dwendwnase.

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In addition, European Union (EU) funded micro-projects at the cost of over one billion cedis led to the construction of rural clinic at Komeso, classrooms for Kurofa Junior Secondary School (JSS), primary school block at Morso, JSS block at Nkwanta; nurses' quarters and rural clinic at Obogu.


Other EU micro projects are construction of primary school block at Tokwai Asuboi, JSS Classroom blocks at Praso, Subinso, Ahyiresu and teachers quarters at Banso.


Dr Lord Justice Gyamfi Fenteng, District Chief Executive, who made these projects known during the peoples assembly forum held at Juaso, attended by traditional rulers, assembly members, opinion leaders, heads of departments and New Patriotic Party (NPP) functionaries said the HIPC fund released to the assembly amounted to over one billion cedis.


The 18 projects undertaken with the fund included aqua privy at Bompata, Ofoase, Atwedie, Wankyi, Kurofa, Praso and Odubi, while five public urinals have been provided at Juaso, Asankare, Obogu, Adonfe and Yawkwei.


Classroom blocks have been built at Morso and Yawkwei, and a slaughterhouse has been constructed at Juaso, with a butchers shop at Obogu.


Dr Fenteng said under the Village Infrastructure Project (VIP) 1.9 billion cedis has been used to construct seven markets at Asuboa, Tanokrom, Muramura, Dadieso, Kantanso, Atwedie and Brantuokrom. He said that under the component of VIP, feasibility studies have been completed on 10 farm roads estimated at 5.7 billion cedis. The roads are Adomfe-Tanokrom, Tanokrom-Asotosu; Junction to Atotosu; Kwabeng to Kadjo Formanso, Odubi to Kumeagya, Koikrom-Kpanwa, Atwedie-Akokofori, Morso-Adomfe, Yaw Bronya-Konkoma and Saabo-Odiifo Wilson.

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PROVISION OF WATER


There are plans to spend three billion cedis for the construction of 110 boreholes throughout the District, while 363 million cedis would also be spent on institutional latrines to cover 12 towns. On the utilisation of Member of Parliament's (MP's) share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund, Dr Fenteng said in addition to the first quarter allocation of 2002 fund of 22.9 million cedis, two quarterly releases of 33.4 million cedis each in respect of 2003 allocations have been received.


The MP, Mr Alex Korankye in consultation with the Assembly and opinion leaders, supplied 120 dual desks, 40 collapsible chairs and tables with metal stands, all worth 36.4 million cedis to five primary schools and Ofoase Secondary/Technical School.


The Chief Executive said a total of 70 bags of cement and six packets of roofing sheets were also distributed to two primary schools at Mamponteng L/A and Pra-River Islamic schools, while Dampong Police Station had cement and roofing sheets, Pra-River market, two kindergartens (KG) at Akwatia and Atwedie had two packets of roofing sheets each.


NON-PERFORMING CONTRACTORS WARNED


Dr Fenteng criticised the output of contractors, who are constructing classroom blocks with ancillary facilities that is being financed with the GETFund, describing their works as disappointing. April 2003 and were intended for Banka, Bompata, Breku and Dansabonso and scheduled for completion in eight months, and with only one month to go, the beneficiary communities were becoming impatient.

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He said Messrs Jokodino Construction Works, who are working on the Banka project have been issued a formal warning for the delay. Dr Fenteng said out of the two per cent of the DACF allocation - 120 million cedis as district education fund, 79 million cedis has been disbursed to student beneficiaries, 19 teacher trainees bonded to serve the district after their courses, 25 tertiary education level students who hail from the District, 90 secondary and basic school students and two physically challenged students.


On the National Health Insurance Scheme, he said the government has made available 250 million cedis to the assembly to implement a start-up proposal prepared by Messrs Organisation and Systems of Accra.


Officers have been secured and a three-main interim team made up of a manager, data control officer and an accountant are being assisted by the Assembly; Department of Co-operatives, National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to publicise the scheme. Three training workshops have been organised for assembly members, heads of departments, 100 prospective collectors and 80 health insurance chairmen drawn from 80 communities.


The coding of houses and listing of prospective contributors to the scheme was completed in November. Publication and public education on the scheme is being sustained.


Dr Fenteng said among the constraints of the assembly were understaffing, limited computer application skills, inadequate office and residential accommodation.


The staffing position of the assembly stands at 77, with 14 senior officers, 47 junior officers, with 10 assembly paid staff. There is also low revenue base and inadequate telecom facilities, office equipment and vehicles for departments.

On the way forward, Dr Fenteng said activities and programmes to be pursued in 2004 included stronger partnership with Traditional Authorities, effective functioning of Town/Area Councils and revenue centres.


The Public Relation Unit would be more vibrant and effort made to promote tourism and investment with the Asante Gateway Project at Nnadieso and face lifting of Juaso Township under the Urban IV Project.

Source: GNA Feature by G.B. Osei-Antwi