The seemingly sheer lack of innovative skills by some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Northern Region of Ghana, perhaps due to their inability to think outside the box, has over the years dragged the progress of their Assemblies backwards despite the many opportunities that surrounds them, the Northern Regional Minister thinks.
According to Bede Aawotaazumo Ziedeng, it was important for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to continuously remind themselves of their mandate to mobilize resources to make life better for their people. “What the people desire is progress and development and we should not take them for granted”, he cautioned.
Speaking at a meeting with newly appointed and outgoing MMDCEs/Presiding Officers as well as some heads of government institutions in the health, education and agric sector in the Region, Mr. Ziedeng said some of these Assemblies had over the years relied solely on external sources of funding including District Assemblies Common Fund, District Development Fund as well as other donor funding in order to provide development projects for their people.
“It is important for Assemblies to give utmost attention to the mobilization of their own resources rather than solely relying on external sources. It is regrettable that most Assemblies have virtually relegated their internally generated revenue to the background of their activities and are only too quick to budget for projects that rely on external sources”, the minister observed.
Mr. Ziedeng disclosed that, in 2012 revenue generation in MMDAs in the region averaged 76.1 percent which was an increase of 17 percent from the previous year, adding that some districts generated revenue as low as 17.21 percent of their target and described that as unfortunate.
He charged the MMDCEs to reverse the trend by revamping their locally generated revenue structures citing property rate as one area that had not received the deserved attention even though it was a major potential source of revenue for their Assemblies.
The Northern Regional Minister also observed that, land disputes in the region were increasingly becoming rampant and if measures were not taken immediately to stem the tide, the situation could jeopardize the peace of the region.
He appealed to the various traditional authorities to take advantage of the establishment of the customary lands secretariat under the Land Administration Project (LAP) which has made provision for assistance to be extended to various skins (traditional areas) to establish those secretariats to help define boundaries and document them appropriately.
The success of it, Mr. Ziedent noted, would certainly eliminate disputes over boundaries and also streamline the management of land in the region. He called on the various traditional authorities to take the opportunity provided by LAP to streamline the management of lands in their jurisdictions.
He further hinted on serious deforestation and illegal mining activities in the Nanumba North, Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Districts which he said were increasingly posing danger in those areas. He advised the respective Assemblies to take charge of the development.