The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Hon. John Kwao Sackey has announced initiatives being embarked upon by the Assembly to increase its revenue base. He made this disclosure at the Third Quarter Townhall meeting held at the Haatso Pentecost Church.
Under the auspices of the Planning and Budget Units, the Townhall meeting, organized to present the Action Plan and Budget of the Assembly for the 2016 calendar year, also created a platform for reviewing actions taken so far on the 2015 Action Plan.
Another highlight of the event, was the presentation of the fee-fixing resolution a key component of the budget preparation which deals with the tax regime of the Assembly.
The function, attended by various stakeholders including representatives of Residents’ Associations, business groups, market women, religious groups, traditional leaders, Persons with Disability (PWDs) and youth groups among others, afforded the participants the opportunity to discuss the development plan of the Assembly and make inputs.
Addressing the gathering, MCE, Hon. John Kwao Sackey, applauded the contributions of the various stakeholders which enabled the Assembly to plan and budget for the ensuing year.
He noted that in as much as the Assembly was making frantic efforts to bring development to the communities and improve the living standards of the people, a lot more needed to be done by the people to ensure a comprehensive implementation of its plans, programmes, policies and activities.
Hon. Sackey identified low revenue generation as a bane of development in the municipality since most of the activities rely on internally generated funds of the Assembly.
He therefore encouraged the people to honour their tax obligations to help the Assembly fast track its development agenda for the betterment of all.
The MCE then announced, as part of the plans to increase the revenue base of the Assembly, that “currently we are embarking on property valuation exercise which would address the issue of under and non-billing of various properties within our municipality”.
“The first valuation was done under Amasaman in 1987 and it has outlived its usefulness, he explained.
He said there was the need to do the valuation to ensure that the Assembly generates the right revenue for the development of the municipality.
Touching on the street naming exercise, Hon. Sackey said his Assembly was well on course to achieving its goal of naming and numbering all the streets and properties within their jurisdiction and urged landlords and land owners to cooperate a company which had been contracted to do property auditing while assuring the people of the efforts being made to secure funding for the erection of more sign posts.
He also used the occasion to appeal to all to embrace and participate fully in the National Sanitation Day exercise, urging the Assembly and Unit Committee members in the various electoral areas to liaise with the traditional authorities to ensure that the exercise is enforced and sustained.
He also reiterated the Assembly’s resolve to enhance the wellbeing of women and PWDs in the municipality and mentioned that a revolving fund has been setup in conjunction with the Abokobi Rural Bank Limited to support the income-generating activities of the various women’s groups with the first batch of beneficiaries being readied to access the funds.
The Municipal Budget Officer (MBO), Mr. Noah Tali, revealed that most of the properties in the municipality have not been valued thus resulting in the inability of the Assembly to bill the owners to pay Property Rates.
He noted that an ongoing exercise at Ashongman Estate to count houses and other properties including undeveloped lands in that area revealed, within three days of the exercise, that about 500 properties there were not paying Property Rates.
He said the Assembly could do more for the development of the municipality if the people honour their civic responsibility and pay their taxes.
Participants were allowed to ask questions and comment on the proceedings.
Responding to a question on the Street Naming exercise, the Physical Planning (Town and Country Planning) Director, Mrs Doris Kally Adusei, briefed the participants on progress made so far on the project.
She informed them that the project was at the stage where all houses were being audited to get the relevant information for a database for the house-numbering aspect, appealing to landlords and property owners to cooperate with the company currently working to this effect on the ground.
She lauded the support and cooperation from Residents’ Associations and traditional authorities but expressed worry about the feet-dragging by some traditional authorities to submit their proposed street names.
The Municipal Planning Officer (MPO), Mr Sampson Slessor Agbeve and the Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO), Mr Derrick Tata-Anku, both responding to questions on lack of development for some communities cited unavailability of land as a major cause.
The Chairman for the function, Nii Kwao Obuabasa II, Kwabenya Mantse, advised the Assembly to properly document the proceedings for future reference and encouraged the residents to be punctual at such meetings to ensure that their concerns are addressed.
Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman