SESSIONAL ADDRESS BY HON. THOMAS KWAKWAH, DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE (DCE) AHAFO ANO SOUTH DISTRICT ASSEMBLY AT THE FIRST ORDINARY MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY HELD ON TUESDAY 7TH JULY 2009, AT THE ASSEMBLY HALL, MANKRANSO.
HON. PRESIDING MEMBER
HON. MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
HON. ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I consider it a great pleasure and honour to formally welcome you to the First Ordinary meeting of this August Assembly for the year 2009.
I am indeed delighted at the fact that today marks my first ordinary meeting since I assumed office as the DCE of the District.
Hon. Presiding Member, permit me to use this opportunity to sincerely thank you all for voting massively for my confirmation as the District Chief Executive of the District. As I indicated in a brief speech after my confirmation, I need the support, co-operation, understanding, unity of purpose among the various key players in the decentralization process especially Hon. Assembly members who are crucial in achieving the set targets of the Assembly.
I am confident that with team work we will be able to smoothly implement government policies and programmes and enhance the development of our dear District.
This being my maiden sessional address, I intend to dwell on certain pertinent issues of concern for a fruitful deliberation and implementation.
SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET 2009
Hon Presiding Member, the assembly’s allocation of the DACF for 2009 is one million, six hundred and forty-four thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four Ghana Cedis, thirty seven pesewas (GH¢ 1,644,974.37).
The supplementary budget was accordingly prepared alongside the guidelines for the utilization of the DACF as submitted by the Administrator.
ALLOCATION FOR THE YEAR GH¢ 1,644,974.37
A) STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS
- Human Capacity Building 1%16,449.74
- National Youth Employment Prog 35% 575,741.02
- District Response (HIV/AIDS) 0.5% 8,224.87
- Malaria Prevention (RBM) 0.5% 8,224.87
- Support to People with Disabilities 2% 32,899.48
TOTAL 39.0% 641,539.98
B) ON-GOING PROJECTS
- Completion of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Mpasaso-Nyamebekyere 42,668.59
- Completion of 1no. 3-unit classroom block at Essienkyem-Bonsukrom 23,671.33
- Completion of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Asikantia 27,320.78
- Completion of 1 no.3-unit classroom block at Nkyensendanho 18,500.00
- Completion of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Abesewa 43,568.59
- Completion of 1 no. 12-unit Aqua Privy Toilet at Nsuta 6,661.00
- Completion of 1 no.12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Adadekrom 28,500.00
- Completion of 1 no 12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Mankranso 18,667.04
- Completion of 1 no. 12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Asempanaye 2,261.21
- Completion of 1 no. 12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Sikafrebogya 21,581.68
- Completion of 1 no. 12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Ahwerewam 28,500.00
- Completion of 1 no. 12-seater Aqua Privy Toilet at Sabronum 9,611.01
- Completion of 1 no. 12-seater aqua Privy Toilet at Kunsu 21,666.76
- Completion of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Attakrom 5,388.73
- Completion of Nurses Quarters at Wioso 46,850.28
- Completion of Domeabra Area Council Block 23,207.83
TOTAL 368, 574.83
C) STRENGTHENING DECENTRALISATION
1. Support to Health / NID Programme 8,000.00
2. Preparation of MTDP 10.000.00
3. Monitoring & Commissioning of projects 10,000.00
4. Assistance of Security Services 8,000.00
5. Support to Agriculture 6,000.00
6. Marketing the District Assembly / Ashanti 5,000.00
7. Internal Training of Staff 10,579.15
8. Sanitation Management 15,000.00
9. Self Help Projects 15,000.00
10. Support to Education Programmes 6,000.00
11. Strengthening of Sub-district Structures 15,000.00
D) SUPPORT TO INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES
1. Interventions (CBRDP & DWSP etc) 20,000.00
E) CONTINGENCY 120,280.41
E) NEW PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS
1 Construction of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Betinko 40,000
2. Construction of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Abodease 40,000
3. Construction of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Bonkwaso II 40,000
4. Construction of no. 3-unit classroom block at Bannorkrom 40,000 5.Construction of 1 no. 3-unit classroom block at Achiase 40,000
6. Construction of 1 no. 12-seater Aqua Privy Public Toilet at Adukrom 25,000
7. Electrification Project 25,000
8. Construction of Market sheds at Bonkwaso and Bona Junctions 5,000
9. Support for Sabronum Water Project 5,000.00
10. Procurement of Office equipment and office facilities 10,000.00
11. Connection of water to staff Quarters 5,000.00
12. Construction of 1 no. 3-unit staff Quarters at Mankranso 50,000.00
13. Construction of footbridge at Sabronum & Wioso 3,000.00
14. Procurement of FWD Pickup 40,000.00
15. Road Rehablitation 18,000.00
A) STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS 641,539.98
B) ON-GOING PROJECTS 368,574.83
C) STRENGTHENING DECENTRALISATION 108,579.15
D) SUPPORT TO INTERVENTION PROG. 20,000.00
E) CONTINGENCY 120,280.41
F) NEW PROGRAMMES & PROJECTS 386,000.00
GRAND TOTAL 1,644.974.37
Hon. Presiding Member, let me be quick to add that, the shortfalls and unplanned deductions sometimes render the supplementary budget unattainable, as illustrated by the situation for the 2008 budget.
The budgeted allocation of the DACF for 2008 was GH¢ 1,011,527.81 but the actual allocation was GH¢ 1,058,170.24 recording an excess of
GH¢46,642.43. It is worth indicating that only GH¢ 328,857.15 representing 31% of the actual allocation was received by the Assembly for the period and an amount of GH¢ 729,313.09 representing 69% was deducted at source.
Hon Presiding Member, the inference from above is that the District Assembly was financially constrained and most of the projects and programmes implemented in the 2008 financial year could not be completed.
I wish to therefore appeal to Hon. Members to bear with the current situation hoping that the unplanned deductions would be a thing of the past.
Hon. Presiding Member, for the sake of emphasis let me indicate that, the guidelines for utilization of the fund is very clear on the mode of disbursing the funds. The Assembly will make a conscious effort to strictly go according to the guidelines. It is my passionate appeal to Hon. Members, Heads of Departments, Nananom and other stakeholders to co-operate and assist the Assembly in ensuring that the funds are effectively utilized as contained in the guidelines.
Hon. Presiding Member, let me inform you that an amount of GH¢ 127,872.93 has been released to the Assembly as its share of the District Assembly Common Fund for the last quarter of the year 2008.
The funds released were used to meet the payments of projects and programmes that were earmarked under the 2008 supplementary budget. Additionally an amount GH¢16,736.11 was used for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the residency and office of the DCE. Most of the furnishings at these facilities had worn out after over eight (8) years of usage by the former DCE.
The financial performance in terms of the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Assembly in 2008 was very promising. The Assembly estimated an amount of GH¢ 133,669.40 and the actual revenue that was mobilized by the Assembly as at 31st December 2008 was GH¢ 128,164.68 representing 95.88% of revenue estimates. Let me commend the revenue staff and all stakeholders in making this possible and it is expected that you will not rest on your laurels.
For this year, 2009, the Assembly has projected to collect a total of GH¢ 138,629.20 from the traditional source. As at 31st March, 2009, the Assembly had collected a total of GH¢ 36,378.33 representing 105% of quarterly target and 26% of the projected annual estimates. From the above, indications are clear that the Assembly can achieve the set target if the revenue mobilization strategies are vigorously pursued and sustained. In the Assembly’s effort to achieve this projected income, a capacity building workshop has been organized for the revenue staff in the District to enhance their performance.
Hon. Presiding Member, lack of reliable vehicles, the inaccessibility of some of the communities especially in the rainy season due to poor road network are some of the major challenges confronting the Assembly in its revenue mobilization. The Assembly is putting in measures to address some of these problems and further strategize and strengthen the IGF to assume its functional role.
Hon Presiding Member, I will enjoin all Hon. Members to support and monitor the activities of our revenue staff to improve their mobilization in their electoral areas and also continue to educate their electorates on the importance of paying their taxes, rates, fees and licenses to help equip the Assembly financially.
The district has remained peaceful with harmonious co-existence of the populace with the exception of a highway robbery reported in the first quarter of the year, around the Fawoman – Sabronum road which led to a shoot-out between the police and the armed robbers leading to the death of one armed robber with the rest of the gang escaping with no arrest made so far. The police have intensified their night patrols to check the situation.
A police officer was shot and wounded by an unidentified gunman while he was on duty at the District Revenue and Security Barrier with his colleague officers and some other District Taskforce personnel. He later died at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). Investigations are on going to bring the culprit to book.
Hon. Presiding Member, the District Security Committee (DISEC) have streamlined a number of measures to facilitate the re-opening of the Pokukrom Police Station as soon as practicable to help combat the rate of crime in the District.
Hon. Presiding Member, I believe that as a District, society and people, it is now time we committed ourselves to taking responsibility for our security and protection and recognize the security agencies as our partners and readily support them with information and reporting all suspicious characters loitering around in our communities without taking the law into our own hands.
Education has been identified as the key to the eradication of poverty and ignorance and affording the people the opportunity to develop themselves to contribute and participate in the global economy. It is for this reason that the NDC government has made the development of the human resource of Ghana a major priority.
The Assembly in no doubt has the responsibility to provide the necessary facilities and infrastructure for children’s education. It is glaring that the Assembly has not relented in its efforts in living up to expectation.
A close study of the District’s supplementary budget over the years indicates that a chunk of DACF is spent on education.
Hon. Presiding Member a shocking revelation is that despite all these strenuous efforts by the Assembly, it is no secret that the standard of education has fallen in our District. I wish to appeal to all stakeholders especially the District Directorate of Education to make the best out of the existing facilities and structures for us all to achieve our common goal of raising the standard of education in the District.
Hon. Presiding Member, let me assure you that the NDC government is committed and working around the clock to address issues confronting the educational sector.
It is envisaged that the government would embark on a major expansion of educational infrastructure. The Capitation Grant has been increased by 50% and the School Feeding Programme is to be enhanced while school uniforms are to be provided free to needy children in deprived communities across the country effective September, 2009. The government is also reviewing the duration for the Senior High School Programme and looking at means to motivate teachers especially those in deprived communities.
The government recognizes the issue of irresponsible parenting as a contributing factor to lack of proper care for children in the country.
The government is therefore committed to developing social policies that will cushion children against worst effects of parental neglect and exploitation such as child labour, streetism and all other forms of abuses.
Hon. Member this requires the commitment of our communities as a whole to ensure that children become useful and responsible adults who can contribute to the economic development and transformation of our budding democracy into a more vibrant one for the benefit of our society.
Hon. Presiding Member, let me hint you that the Assembly is looking at the possibility of establishing an Education Fund for the District to help address some of the problems facing the sector and support the needy but brilliant students in the District to pursue further studies. The Education Fund would also contribute to the enhancement of education and facilitate the District’s quest for raising the standard of education. I am therefore calling for the support of Honourable members to make this vision become a reality.
NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME
Hon. Presiding Member, plans are under way by the government to strengthen the National Health Insurance Scheme and tackle the weakness in its implementation in a co-ordinated and sustainable manner to carter for the health needs of the people.
The government is also considering his decision of making the payment of premium a onetime affair i.e. “one touch”. I wish to make a special appeal to Hon. Members to educate their electorate to fully take advantage of the scheme.
As at the first quarter of this year, the District Mutual Health Insurance has registered 54,853 people representing 45% of the total population of the District and has intensified their campaign to get more people to register under the scheme.
The scheme intends to construct an office of its own. Presently the Town and Country Planning Department is working on the proposed site and Hon. Members would be updated in due course.
NATIONAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME
Hon. Presiding Member, as expected the NDC government shall not abandon development projects and policies which are in national interest but initiated by our predecessors. We prefer to adopt and build upon all the good works or Programmes undertaken by the past government. This is a constitutional issue and would not run away from Article 35 clause 7 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana.
It is against this background that the government is reviewing the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) to make the modules more relevant to the needs and aspirations of the youth and sustain it.
Hon. Presiding Member, let me inform you that government has no plans to terminate the NYEP as it has been carried in rumours. Instead the NYEP is to recruit an additional 100,000 youth onto the Programme between July 2009 and January 2010. There is an on-going head count exercise of beneficiaries of the Programme in all the Districts to get rid of the ghost names and up-date the existing data for meaningful planning.
Hon. Presiding Member, information reaching my office indicate that some unauthorized persons have been registering and recruiting people into the National Youth Employment Programme especially the recruitment and replacement of teaching assistants in our schools with collaboration by some unscrupulous Head teachers. No government institution or individual has been assigned such responsibility. Such persons should be reported to the law enforcement agencies or the District Assembly for their immediate arrest and prosecution.
At the appropriate time, the government will announce any such registration or recruitment exercise. Hon. Members should therefore be on the look out for such imposters. I am using this platform to caution those people to desist from such illegal act and charge the District Education Directorate to be vigilant and report on such recruitment to the Assembly for the necessary action to be taken.
Ahafo Ano South District depends predominantly on agriculture for its major source of income, employment and food supply. It would therefore be unfair on my part to address this august House without touching on agriculture.
Report reaching my outfit indicates that the District is self sufficient in getting access to food throughout this year. I appreciate the diverse roles played by all stakeholders in making this achievement possible especially our distinguished farmers and MOFA for their technical support.
Hon. Presiding Member, may I take this opportunity to inform you about the agitation for reconstituting gangs of the Mass Spraying exercise. This led to confrontations between some NDC and NPP supporters in some communities.
For peace not to be undermined in our district, the District Taskforce of the Mass Spraying exercise which I am the chairman intervened and saw the need to reconstitute the gangs as pressing and necessary to resolve the issue amicably.
Hon. Presiding Member, I am happy to also inform you that tensions have calmed down and the Black pod spraying exercise have successfully taken off and the capsid spraying exercise is expected to start in August this year.
There are alleged malpractices leveled against Gang Supervisors and local Taskforce members such as stealing and sale of some inputs like chemicals and spraying machines meant for the exercise. I wish to appeal to all of us here especially Honourable members, Nananom and the Department of Ministry of Food and Agriculture to be on a look out and closely monitor the activities of the gangs to bring such dubious acts to a halt and promote the effective implementation of the programme for the benefit of all.
Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly has taken delivery of a new Grader. The Assembly is working out a comprehensive plan for the operation and management of the Grader to improve and enhance accessibility to remote communities and make our roads motorable throughout the year to facilitate the transport of people and farm produce to market centers and reduce post harvest losses.
Some cases of rainstorm disasters were recorded in certain parts of the District and the affected communities included Fawoman, Pokukrom, Adadekrom, Mpasaso No. 1 and 2 with the most current and heavily hit community been Abasua No. 1 and rendering most of the people homeless. I have been to Abasua No. 1 to console the people on behalf of the Assembly and some relief items have been sent to them from the Regional National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the Assembly is yet to support the victims.
Plans are underway to relocate the people to a high land. The Hon. Deputy Regional Minister was also in the District to support the flood victims of Abasua No. 1 with some item such as bags of rice, student mattresses, Wellington boosts, plastic plates and cups, bales of second clothing among other things.
Hon. Members of this august House, let us embark upon vigorous and effective educational campaign in our electoral areas against farming along river banks, sources of rivers, bush burning and indiscriminate felling of trees just to mention a few and protect our environment.
Ahafo Ano South is now noted for illegal timber operation and the sector minister was attracted to visit the Tinte Forest and Hon. Members the revelations were an eye-saw.
To remedy the situation a District Taskforce has been formed to join forces with the Ahafo Ano North District Assembly to curb the menace and bring the perpetrators to book
Hon. Presiding Member, we are all aware of the dangers as well as calamities which will befall us when our forests are depleted and if we do not protect the forests, posterity will blame us in future. I will crave the indulgence of all and sundry to become watchdogs particularly the unit committees to do effective monitoring to complement the efforts of the taskforce to check this canker in our District.
The NDC government in its bid to move local governance a step further and strengthen and deepen decentralization has launched the “Town Hall Meeting” to create a platform for continuous interaction between the government and communities in the Districts.
Hon. Presiding Member the “Town Hall Meeting” which is a revised version of the People’s Assembly, will inform the government on the true situation on the ground for the government to pursue measures to address their problems to improve their quality of life and encourage more participation in local governance.
As part of the programme, metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are expected to hold periodic meetings with the People in the communities to educate them on government programmes and policies and also seek their concerns to promote effective consensus building. I will entreat Hon. Members to sensitize the people in their electoral areas for massive participation when the programme takes off.
Hon. Presiding Member, Hon. Members, Nananom, Heads of Departments, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an open secret that the problems facing the District are manifold. I am determined that with your full support, co-operation and burying our political differences and aiming at meeting the developing goals and aspirations of our people to move the development agenda of the District forward. I know the lord will crown our efforts with success.
I will end my address by this quotation from Psalms 90: 17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands”. On this note, Hon Presiding Member I thank you all for your attention.
May God richly bless you all.