The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Ishmael Ashitey, has promised to be “father for all” and charged workers of the Assembly to share in the vision of the government to ensure accelerated development. The Minister was addressing Staff of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), at Abokobi during a day’s working visit.
The visit to Ga East, which forms part of a scheduled programme in which the Minister is expected to tour all the 16 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) within the Greater Accra Region, afforded him the opportunity to acquaint himself with the operations and know at first hand the challenges facing the Assembly and help fashion out the way forward in addressing them.
Prior to coming to the Ga East, the Hon. Minister visited the Ga West Municipal Assembly at Amasaman.
His first task at Ga East was a courtesy call on the Chief of Abokobi, Nii Samuel Adjetey Mohenu, at his palace where he interacted briefly with him in the company of the Acting Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, Presiding Member, Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum and Heads of Security in the Municipality, including the Municipal Chief Guard, WOI Adu Agyei.
The Minister and his entourage then proceeded to the Zimmerman Presbyterian Congregation at Abokobi where the District Pastor, Rev. Ebenezer Akrong gave homily and prayed for strength, wisdom, good health and God’s protection for the Minister to enable him discharge his duties creditably.
His final destination was at the Municipal Head office at Abokobi where he held to separate meetings; a closed-door meeting with the Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) followed by a staff durbar.
Addressing the Staff of the Assembly at a durbar, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Ishmael Ashitey, stated that his visit was necessitated by the urgency of the desire of the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to see to the speedy implementation of his campaign promises “with the view to bringing economic prosperity to all the citizenry”.
He therefore charged the Staff to acquaint themselves with the vision of the President to ensure effective attainment of the desired results.
“We asked for a change and the change has come. To achieve this, we must change positively our mindset, attitude, values and morality to drive the change to be successful”, he stressed,
Hon. Ashitey called on all to support him to “build a region devoid of unhealthy political, ethnic and religious affiliations that derail our development as a people and as a nation”.
He urged all and sundry to put the past behind and pursue an agenda that would address the challenges confronting the region and the nation.
“I therefore promise to be a father for all and urge you to join me put our heads together and our shoulders to the wheel to steer the affairs of this region for the improvement of the quality of lives of our people.”
The Regional Minister said the government has prioritized the issue of waste management and sanitation in general in the country with the aim to “transform our cities in conformity to global standards and best practices in terms of access to water, waste management, spatial development, infrastructural management, sewage dislodgement and treatment in a more scientific way that would make our cities resilient”.
He also indicated that the government has made it a priority and policy to ensure that sanitation services of acceptable quality are made available to satisfy the socio-economic needs of individuals in the country at each point in time.
He again promised to help improve the water situation in the municipality through the infusion of modern water systems to augment the existing boreholes services.
“Thankfully, the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP) has come on board to address some of these challenges. We therefore need to work around the clock by providing all the necessary inputs and backstopping as the RCC and as an Assembly”.
The Minister noted that the World Bank deems the environmental and social safeguards standards for its projects as essential requirement in the implementation of the project and entreated the Assembly to adhere to them to ensure timely completion of the projects in the municipality and all other beneficiary Assemblies.
Touching on the issues of Land guards, multiple sales of land and Land litigation, Chieftaincy disputes, Boundary Disputes, as well as Sand and Gravel Wining, Hon. Ishmael Ashitey, noted that the Ga East, likewise other Assemblies, has its fair share of the menace and said he will collaborate with the relevant stakeholders to address them.
He also indicated his resolve to help address the perennial flooding in some parts of the municipality through the construction and desilting of existing drains and planting of trees.
He urged the Assembly to enforce its bye-laws on sanitation through the use of the sanitation courts provided by the judiciary to deal with people who flout the regulations and help cub the sanitation challenges within the municipality.
The Regional Minister encouraged the staff to be hardworking, productive and punctual at work but “refrain from lateness and absenteeism, laziness, loitering that make us unproductive”.
He cautioned people who may seek to thwart efforts in developing the region.
“We will not tolerate or compromise on anything that would derail our efforts at achieving our targets as a region and as a government. All of us need to work hard to win the confidence of each other and society at large. You must endeavour to exhibit a high sense of commitment, dedication, self discipline and above all, professionalism”, Hon. Ashitey stated.
The Acting MCE and MCD, Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, welcoming the Minister and his entourage at the durbar, expressed the delight of the Assembly to host the him as part of his working tour of the Region.
He briefed the Minister of the composition and staff strength of the Assembly and enumerated some of the strides the Assembly has made since its creation in 2004 including using its Internally Generated Fund (IGF) to construct a 3-storey office block annex and efforts to give Abokobi, the Municipal Capital, a facelift, instituting a loan scheme for staff and establishing support fund for various groups and individuals in the municipality engaged agriculture and micro enterprises.
The MCD also used the occasion to shared some of the challenges the Assembly is facing with him including large number of IGF staff for which the Assembly spends GHC59,000.00 monthly on salaries, lack of vehicles for departments, poor GOG transfers for departmental programmes which is a big constraint on the implementation of the composite budget and lack of proper delineation of boundaries with neighbouring Assemblies.
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri noted with concern the challenges with the redevelopment of the Dome Market which is part of the Assembly’s agenda of turning the municipality into a commercial enclave to create opportunities for both private investment and joint ventureship.
“Among the hindrances are the inadequate trading spaces. The Dome Market serves as the biggest public market in the municipality. The Dome Market land forms part of the lands acquired by Phyto Ryker Pharmaceuticals Company Limited from the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC). An MOU was signed between the Assembly and Phyto Ryker in which the latter agreed to lease part of land where the Dome Market is situated to the Assembly provided that the value of the land would be assessed and the cost used to set-off the indebtedness of Phyto Ryker Pharmaceuticals to the DIC.”
The Acting MCE disclosed to the Minister that the valuation of the land in question had already been carried out by the Land Valuation Division of the lands Commission and a request sent to the Ministry of Finance through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the set-off but the Assembly is yet to receive the response.
He therefore appealed to the Regional Minister to facilitate the resolution of the situation to enable the Assembly continue the redevelopment of the Dome Market peacefully.
“The Assembly will require the assistance of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to pursue the matter to ensure security for the traders and protect the investments made there”, the he added.
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri described the general security situation in the municipality as “calm” but indicated some areas of concern needing the attention of the Regional Minister including “encroachment on Government acquired lands particularly at GAEC, poor nature of the roads in the municipality, legal tussle over land ownership among Families and Chiefs creating insecurity for residents and lack of streetlights”.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Pictures: Stephen Quartey/Sefa Darkey