President John Evans Atta Mills has said social amenities and development projects will continue to be pivots around which the “Better Ghana” agenda will revolve.
In that connection, he said the government was undertaking structural and institutional reforms to ensure an appropriate and balanced mix of investments in the agricultural, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas sectors to provide a modern, dynamic and diversified economy.
He was addressing the 2011 conference of Chief Executives of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Koforidua on Wednesday.
“Provision of clean water, schools, health facilities, protection of the environment, waste management, road construction, rural electrification, poverty reduction and job creation continue to be the pivots around which our governance agenda is revolving,” the President said.
The conference, on the theme: “Implementing the Better Ghana Agenda through sustainable local economic development,” attracted chief executives of MMDAs and senior civil servants from the Eastern, Central, Volta, Western and Greater Accra regions.
The three-day conference is aimed at creating a platform for the participants to take stock of activities as local government administrators, consolidate and sustain the progress so far made.
It will also help review strategies to address any challenges facing the socio-economic development of the various MMDAs.
President Mills said the National Democratic Congress (NDC ) being a social democratic government, social interventions such as the capitation grant, fertiliser subsidies for small-scale farmers, the National Health Insurance Scheme, dedicating portions of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to persons with disability and reduction in electricity tariffs continued to remain very important aspects of its programmes.
With regard to free school uniforms, President Mills called on the chief executives to ensure that local tailors and seamstresses were contracted to sew the uniforms.
He advised the chief executives of MMDAs to give traditional leaders the due recognition in their communities to foster a positive working relationship.
He also urged them to refrain from negative attitudes that could amount to abusing and despising traditional leaders.
“Real power does not belong to us; it belongs to the people and we dare not abuse the power they have reposed in us, lest they take away what legitimately belongs to them,” he said.
The President said he was very pleased to hear some of the traditional leaders commending some of the Chief Executives of the MMDAs for their humility, hard work, ability to give a listening ear and co-operate with the people during his recent tour of some parts of the country.
“I want to assure Chief executives that they are on the right path and must, therefore, continue to work hard because we were voted into office to serve and not to lord it over the people,” he stated.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, bemoaned the poor attitude of some MMDAs towards waste management in their areas.
“MMDAs must do well to take waste management cost seriously and also educate our people to indulge in good waste management and sanitation practices,” he said, adding that they must also make use of sanitation guards to ensure environmental cleanliness.
He urged the chief executives to give premium to local revenue generation to supplement the DACF to enable them to implement more projects for the benefit of the people.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Kwasi Apea-Kubi, urged the participants to use their front-line positions to facilitate the promotion of entrepreneurship in their various areas to create jobs for the youth, especially, graduates from tertiary institutions.
The Eastern Regional member of the Council of State, Osabarima Owusu Gyamadu, who chaired the function called on the government to give priority to the rehabilitation and construction of roads in the rural communities to improve the lot of the people.
In a solidarity message, the General Secretary of NALAG, Alhaji lbrahim M. Sherif, called on the government to increase the DACF from 7.5 per cent to 12 per cent to enable the assemblies to undertake more meaningful development projects as the population in most areas kept increasing.
Source: Daily Graphic