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The Nkoranza Municipal Assembly in the Brong-Ahafo Region has not been able to gazette its by-laws because of lack of funds to do so, Mr Kwame Adu Gyamfi, the Presiding Member of the Assembly said on Thursday.
This is making it extremely difficult for the Assembly to enforce approved by-laws in the Municipality since 2013, he said at a stakeholders meeting organised by the Nkoranza Progressive Cashew Farmers Association (PCFA) at Nkoranza.
Attended by cashew farmers, buyers, assembly members and traditional authorities, the meeting formed part of an advocacy project being implemented by the association with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund.
Dubbed “advocate for the enforcement of bushfire law to prevent bushfires in Nkoranza North and South Districts”, the project is aimed at helping to remove bottlenecks impeding the economic activities of the cashew farmers in the two areas.
Mr Gyamfi noted that the assembly had enacted and approved several by-laws, but the problem was their enforcement,
“We don’t have enough funds to gazette these by-laws because our IGF is very limited. My brother internal revenue generation here is very poor. We cannot prosecute offenders because of political interferences”, he said.
Mr Gyamfi said because the by-laws were not gazetted “they have not teeth to bite” and nothing punitive could be meted on offenders.
Rather, he said since traditional rulers were the embodiment of the people, there was the need for them to use their traditional powers to enforce some of these by-laws so that citizens would comply.
Mr Thomas Benarkuu, the Programmes Director of MIHOSO International Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation and service providers, expressed dismay and described the situation as unfortunate and unacceptable and advised the Assembly to do something as soon as possible.
He said perennial bushfires were causing extensive damages to cashew farms in the two districts and appealed to the Assembly and traditional rulers to help intensify campaign and enforced the PNDCL 229, 1990 to control the fires.
Mr Benarkuu said the cashew industry had huge potential to transform the nation’s economy saying there is growing demand on the world market for cashew kernels as well as its by-products hence the need to help to address pertinent challenges confronting the sector.
He pointed out that the PNDCL 229 mandated Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to educate and establish free volunteers for control, prevention, enforcement of the bushfire law, but regretted that the Municipal Assembly had done nothing about that.
Mr Osei Kwabena, the Chairman of the PCFA, said the association had about 730 members and added that annual bushfires threatened and caused extensive damage to their farms and appealed to the assembly to gazette the bushfire by-laws.
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