The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA) is to benefit from a 50Kilometre-Road Project with funding sourced through the Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, Hon. Lawyer Sarah Adwoa Safo. This came to light during the first Town Hall Meeting of the Assembly for the year 2017 held at the Taifa Central Assembly of the Church of Pentecost.
It was the first time Taifa was hosting the Town Hall meeting since the creation of the Assembly in 2004 and against anticipation of a possible low turnout, the organizers were overwhelmed with the attendance, thus describing the event as one of the best ever to be organized.
With over 200 stakeholders, comprising Assembly Members, Traditional Leaders, Political Parties representatives, Community-Based Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, Traders, Cooperative Organizations and Drivers Unions as well as staff of the Assembly attending, the Town Hall meeting was used to render account of the utilization of the public funds by the Assembly on behalf of the people.
Opening the event, the representative of the Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr. Laud Binka, underscored the essence of the Town Hall meeting as a means to deepening governance at the local level as it creates the platform for the Assembly to render accounts to the people of how funds mobilized have been used and engage the citizens on the implementation of planned programmes and activities in the previous year.
Mr. Binka noted that as part of the Assembly’s efforts to improve upon the mechanisms of addressing citizens concerns and complaints, a Client Service Unit has been established and the Public Relations and Complaints Committee (PRCC) constituted, to receive and investigate all matters reported to the Assembly for redress.
He therefore encouraged the citizens to take advantage of the opportunity offered to report issues of concern to them to the Assembly for the necessary actions to be taken to address them.
He again appealed to the citizens who do not have toilet facilities in their homes to take advantage of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area-Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP) which offers household toilets at half-price cost and construct toilets in their houses.
Mr. Binka assured the participants that issues raised at the meeting would be documented and reported to management for consideration and action.
The Assistant Municipal Planning Officer, AMPO, Mr. Alex Amoah and the Municipal Budget Officer (MBO), Torgbui Tali Gafatsi III, took turns to make presentations on the Status of Implementation of the 2016 Action Plan and Budget Performance respectively.
The MBO announced that the Assembly generated Four Million and Eighty-Four Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighteen Ghana Cedis and Forty-Eight Pesewas (GHC4,084,818.48) exceeding the targeted revenue of Three Million, Eight Hundred and Forty-Eight Thousand, One Hundred and Two Ghana Cedis (3,848,102.00) as internally Generated Fund (IGF) by Six percent (6%).
He said the Assembly improved upon its revenue mobilization especially in the area of Lands & Royalties (Building Permits, Registration of Plots, Communication Masts, etc.) collecting GHC1,965,580.26, 25% more than the estimated GHC1,571,240.00 while only GHC24,070.00, representing 28.0% out of the projected 85,840.00 for Fines was realized.
Torgbui Tali Gafatsi III explained that the increased collection of the revenue from Lands and Royalties were attributed to the hard-work of the Works Department and Taskforce and the low collection of fines to citizens’ awareness of their responsibilities towards the Assembly.
“If we are not collecting so much from Fines, it means people are not doing the wrong things for them to be charged. So if we have not collected much here then it means our citizens are law-abiding”, he noted.
He stated that Assembly implemented its planned programmes and activities through the IGF with support funding from the Central Government and Donor Agencies including the District Assemblies Common Fund (DCAF), GHC1,487,358.31, 84% out of the expected GHC1,782,784.43; District Development Facility (DDF), GHC440,260.00 (80.5%) from the estimated GHC546,628.00 and Urban Development Grant (UDG), GHC2,963,648.36 which was 81.9% more than the anticipated GHC1,628,725.82 among others.
He said out of the total revenue of GHC3,666,783.34 the Assembly projected to receive from the Government of Ghana (GoG), including funds for goods and services and salaries, and Donor Agencies, an amount of GHC3,293,248.67.
The participants were largely satisfied with the work done by the Assembly in the year under review but took turns to present their concerns and challenges when the opportunity was given for them to ask questions.
Most of the questions centered on the development of Taifa in respect of the roads and drainage, sanitation and water conditions in the area.
A representative of the MP for the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, Mr. Seth Kissi, contributing to the deliberations at the meeting, expressed gratitude to the Assembly for creating the platform for people to engage them on their stewardship of the municipality.
He announced that as part of the plans by the MP, Hon. Layer Sarah Adwoa Safo, to support the Assembly to enhance development in the municipality, she has secured funding for the construction of asphalt roads within the municipality.
He noted that surveying works have already been carried out on the roads earmarked for construction.
“Hon. Adwoa Safo on her own has secured funding for a 50km-road for the whole constituency. The project will not cover only Taifa but Dome Pillar 2, Abokobi, Kwabenya and in fact the whole Constituency”, he explained.
Mr. Kissi also disclosed that the MP will soon cut sod for the construction of school projects in some parts of the municipality including the Taifa Community and Ashongman Demonstration Schools.
He appealed to the citizens to exercise patience but expect massive transformation in the development of the municipality from this year onwards.
Mr. Derick Tata-Anku, the Municipal Environmental Health Officer (MEHO), gave an update on the GAMA-SWP and stated that the construction of the toilet and washroom facilities for the public schools in the municipality stalled because of the detection of non-compliance by the contractors to Environmental Safety Guidelines given by the World Bank.
He however assured the citizens and the beneficiary schools that the project will soon resume as the World Bank team had arrived in the country for a review of the entire project.
Mr. Tata-Anku encouraged landlords who have not provided toilet facilities in their houses to quickly register and benefit from the 50% subsidy given under the Household Toilet Promotion component of the GAMA-SWP.
He then gave an ultimatum for houses without toilet facilities to get one under project before ending of August this year in order to avoid prosecution.
The Presiding Member (PM) of the Assembly, Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum, who chaired the function, urged the citizens to show in interest in the work of the Assembly and participate in such fora to be informed and educated.
He also advised the participants to share the information and knowledge acquired from the meeting with people in their communities and help promote the development agenda of the municipality, appealing to them to pay their constitutionally obligated taxes to the Assembly promptly.
The Assembly Members for Taifa North and South, Hon. Patience Ofosuhene Okrah and Hon. Nana Safo Gyasi respectively expressed satisfaction with the participation and called on their electorates to rally behind them to facilitate the speedy development of the area.
Some of the participants highly commended Hon. Patience Ofosuhene Okrah for bringing the Town Hall to meeting to their area for the first time since the Assembly was created in 2004.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Pictures: Sefa Darkey/Michael Mawenyegah