It is my pleasant duty and privilege to come before this august House, pursuant to Section 28 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) to address you on the occasion of the 1st ordinary meeting of the 4th Session of 7th Assembly of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly.
Hon. Presiding Member, first of all, we have to thank God for His Grace and Favours for making it possible to assemble here once again to deliberate on issues of development for our people.This address will highlight the following areas for your information and deliberation. The areas include:
- Finances of the Assembly
- Progress Report on Physical Projects and Roads
- State of implementation of Government Policies and Social Intervention Programmes
- Executive Committee reports.
Hon. Presiding Member, running the administration has not been easy at all in the face of limited resources. As you may be aware, we are inundated with requests and demands on daily basis from the public, Hon. Members, other Departments and Agencies of government and staff, to solve one problem or the other. It is a daily battle of prioritizing the needs to ensure that the little resources that come in are used judiciously.
Hon. PM, one major challenge of the Assembly is the cost of litigation on the numerous court cases against the Assembly and the frequent demands for compensation on lands allocated to the Assembly decades ago for physical development including the Assembly Office land and the Assembly quarters land. I must say this is a huge drain on the Assembly and it is retarding development.
Hon. Presiding Member, I wish to inform the House that the Municipality has generally remained calm and peaceful due to the vigilance of our hardworking security services. The only incident that nearly marred the peace was a mob action by Students of Akro Senior High Technical School that led to the death of a gentleman. Our vigilant security officers responded swiftly to prevent a reprisal attack from town folks. I want to assure you that MUSEC will do everything within its power to ensure that the Municipality remains peaceful. As always, I will continue to appeal to you Hon. Members to be security conscious and report promptly to the security agencies any incident that has the potential of disturbing the peace the Municipality is currently enjoying.
Hon. Presiding Member, the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited (ECG) since February, 2022 has been engaging various stakeholders aimed at rolling out prepaid meters. Honourable Assembly Members had their turn last week Wednesday. Honourable members are entreated to encourage their electorates to patronise the community engagements when the team gets to your community.
3.0 FINANCES OF ASSEMBLY
Hon. Presiding Member, the essence of decentralization and the creation of District Assemblies is to allow for enough revenue mobilization at the local level to embark on developmental projects to meet the plans, needs and aspirations of the people at the grassroots.
Money is the lifeblood of every organisation, and for that matter, as an Assembly, it is incumbent on us to mobilize enough funds to provide the amenities needed to raise the living conditions of our inhabitants.
Hon. Presiding Member, as at 31st December, 2021, the Assembly had received a total of Nine Million and Twenty-Nine Thousand, Four Hundred and Eleven Ghana Cedis, Thirty-One Pesewas (GH₵9,029,411.31) out of an approved budget of Twenty- Five Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty-One Ghana Cedis, Seventy Pesewas (GHC25, 585,641.70) and this represents 35.29% of the approved budget for the year.
Hon. Presiding Member, the total IGF revenue generated as at 31st December, 2021 stood at Nine Hundred and Seventy-Five Eight-three Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifteen Ghana Cedis, and Six Pesewas (GH¢975,872.06) representing 82.2% of the annual budgeted Revenue of One Million ,One Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty-One Ghana Cedis (Gh¢1,183,721.72).
The Annual Account for the year 2021 which includes the Income and Expenditure Statements has been prepared and submitted to the Ghana Audit Service for validation and publication.
Hon. Presiding Member, notwithstanding the achievements of the overall revenue objective of 2021 through the implementation of the 2021 Revenue Improvement Action Plan, a number of challenges were seen to have obstructed revenue collection exercise during the period under review. A few are enumerated below:
1. The non-function of Markets within the Municipality with direct effect on Daily Tolls and Lorry Park Fees.
- Frequent attacks on revenue collectors manning our revenue barriers.
- In ability to collect revenue from the Akuse Area for the period under review.
- Inability to retrieve monies from some toilet operators.
Hon. Presiding Member, Management together with F&A would continue to review and adopt measures to ensure that revenue collection is improved constantly. I therefore hope that, with concerted efforts, we would achieve our target for this year.
Hon. Members, the Assembly continues to spend a large proportion of its revenue on capital and infrastructural projects. We are of the firm believe that, these physical projects will alleviate the plight and hardships of our inhabitants.
During the period under review, some projects were completed whilst others commenced.
i. A Dormitory block has been completed and handed over.
ii. 10 Seater Water Closet Toilet facility completed.
iii. Handing over of 1 No. 3-Unit Classroom at Ayemesu Kpeti.
iv. Handing over of 1 No. 3-Unit Classroom at Aplah.
v. 1 No. 6-Unit classroom block completed and in use.
vi. The Municipal National Health Insurance Office project is about 94% complete and would soon be handed over.
2.1ROADS AND AUXILIARY SERVICES
Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly is very much aware of the deplorable nature of roads in the Municipality, coupled with choked drains and gutters.
I am happy to report that the Assembly during the period under review, the Assembly undertook the following:
1. Reshaping of 27KM Oborpah –Djekity road has been completed.
2. Pothole patching and Sectional improvement of 17.1 KM of Okwenya Junction through Akuse to Asutuary has commenced.
3. Okwenya Bridge has been opened for vehicular use.
Honourable Presiding Member, let me hasten to add that very soon work on pothole patching would begin from Somanya to Kpong and the link roads.
2.2 Electrification Project
Hon. Presiding Member, the extension of electricity to the middle belt is near completion. The transformers have all been installed and the project is about 90% complete. The project is expected to connect the following communities to the national grid: Obelemanya, Wawase, Aplah, Aboben, Odokom and Ayemesu Kpeti.
2.3 Installation of Solar panels in the middle belt
Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly took delivery of quantities of solar panels from the Ministry of Energy and the panels have since been installed by installers from the ministry of Energy in the following communities: Oborpah Djekity, Yokuyim, Tledom, Akomakopa and Oborpah East. The panels were installed in public places such as schools, CHPS compounds, Churches etc. to provide lights and phone charging systems for the communities.
3.0 GHANA SECONDARY CITIES SUPPORT PROGRAMME (GSCSP)
Hon. Presiding Member, the GSCSP programme is targeted at institutional and infrastructural development in the Municipality aimed at addressing some of the important development challenges while at the same time assisting in implementing government’s decentralization and urban development policies.
3.1 Urban Development Grant (UDG 1)
Hon. Presiding Member, as you are aware, the Assembly applied the first funds under the programme to redevelop Agormanya Market where 188 lockable stores are being constructed under two lots. Update of the on-going projects as at 31st March, 2022 stood at:
Lot 1 – 82 lockable stores is 69.00% complete.
Lot 2 – 106 lockable stores is 56.84% complete.
The initial contract period was six months but the project is far behind scheduled as a result of some challenges and the contract period has been extended. The project managers are working hard to ensure the projects are completed.
3.2 Urban Development Grant (UDG 2)
Hon. PM, under UDG2, the grant is funding two projects, that is:
· 1.2 KM bituminous surfacing of Kpanyas – Kenan road and it is 68.57% complete.
· The construction of a multipurpose Business Centre and it is 62.16% complete.
3.3 Urban Development Grant (UDG 3):
Hon. Presiding Member, under UDG 3, the following projects have been earmarked to be executed under UDG3: 1.5KM bitumen surfacing of the Aklomuase – Starr Villa Road, 800 Metres of Bitumine surfacing of the Atua Government Hospital Road and an expansion of the Manam drainage system.
4.0 STATE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF GOVERNMENT’S FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES AND SOCIAL INTERVENTIONS IN THE MUNICIPALITY
Hon. Presiding Member, the Government of Ghana, as part of its development agenda, outlined a number of policy programmes, which are to be implemented at the local level by District Assemblies.
In line with the provision of section 28 in the Local Governance Act, 2016 (ACT 936), I wish to report to you, the state of implementation of Government flagship policies and other social intervention programmes in the Municipality:
4.1 Free Senior High School Policy
Hon. Presiding Member, the introduction and implementation of the Free Senior High Policy during the 2021/2022 Academic year, has resulted in high enrolment in the public Senior High Schools in the Municipality. This has afforded Junior High School leavers who hitherto couldn’t have been able to continue their education to the Second Cycle Institutions due to the exorbitant cost involved, the opportunity to do so is now. I wish to use this opportunity to urge all of you to take advantage of this important social intervention policy. It is worthy to note that due to the huge investment in infrastructure made by government, the double track system has been abolished. Hon. PM, I am also happy to announce that the Community Development Vocational School, Kpong has been absorbed into the Free Senior High School and admissions is currently on-going for the first batch of Free Senior High School students for the school.
4.2. School Feeding Programme
Hon. Presiding Member, the Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP) is an initiative of the Ghana Government that seeks to enhance food security and reduce hunger, poverty and malnutrition. The immediate objectives of the programme are to reduce hunger and malnutrition, increase school enrolment, attendance and retention and boost domestic food production in deprived communities. The basic concept of the program is to provide children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one hot adequately nutritious meal prepared from locally grown foodstuffs on every school going day.
Hon. Presiding Member, our municipality currently has 36 schools on the programme and 13,316 number of pupils are fed one hot nutritional meal on a daily basis.
It is then evident that the programme initiative is a positive contributor towards the increase in the enrolment and is on the path to achieving improved school general enrolment, which would subsequently result in improved attendance and retention in public basic schools. It is therefore hoped that this initiative will further enhance the enrolment of all children within the said age cohort into schools.
Also, it has given employment to 36 Caterers, about 120 cooks and other indirect employment in terms of those in the supply chain. I wish to implore all of you in ensuring the sustainability of this programme to promote its continual existence.
Hon. Pm, during the period under review, the department of Agric continue to undertake their routine extension services to crop and animal farmers in the municipality.
4.3.1 Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD)
Hon. Presiding Member, the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) is one of government’s flagship policy aimed at making Ghana a self-sufficient economy and eventually move Ghana beyond aid. The Assembly has been implementing the policy since it was started and we have made strides in the Municipality’s annual agricultural output. In addition, there has been a continuous increase in the number of people who have taken up farming, and also an increased in the number of acreage cultivated. Currently, the Department of Agriculture has taken delivery of 9,000 oil palm seedlings to be distributed free to interested farmers. All those interested should contact the department of Agriculture for free seedlings.
4.4 Nation Builders Corps (NABCO)
The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme is a government initiative to address graduate unemployment to solve social problems. Recently the beneficiaries completed their three year internship programme but majority have gained permanent jobs in the numerous recruitment carried out in the various sectors. Currently, plans were far advance to enrol the next batch.
4.5 National Digital Property Addressing System
Hon. Presiding Member, as part of government’s effort in formalising the economy to ensure efficient delivery of services, easy identification of properties and broaden the tax base for rapid economic development.
Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly has taken keen interest in this initiative because, it will eventually solve tax evasion and block revenue leakages, as it will aid in easy identification of properties and improve our database. The Assembly is currently working hard to ensure it completes the street naming in the municipality.
4.6 NATIONAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT AGENCY
Hon. Presiding Member, the National Youth Employment Agency is functioning effectively in our municipality. Currently, the Agency is running three Modules in our municipality. Below is the breakdown:
Community police – 33
Youth in sanitation – 228
Teaching Support – 32
Hon. Presiding Member, very soon the Community Health Assistance module would soon be included.
Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly through the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit continues to educate inhabitants on sanitation as well as measures to promote and sustain good environmental practices in the municipality.
Hon. Presiding Member, on the abandoned toilet facilities, management was working hard to get some of them completed for the utilisation of the public.
1. SOCIAL PROTECTION PROGRAMME
5.1 LIVELIHOOD EMPOWERMENT AGAINST POVERTY (LEAP):
Hon. Presiding Member, as you may be aware, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) provides bi-monthly cash payments to extremely poor households in the country. Beneficiaries also enjoy free registration on the National Health Insurance Scheme. Currently, 2143 people in 66 communities in our municipality are beneficiaries of the programme. Payment of the 75th and 76th cycles would be carried out before the close of the month of April and honourable members are therefore urged to allay the fears of beneficiaries that they would very soon receive their monies.
5.2 DISBURSEMENT OF DISABILITY COMMON FUND
Hon. PM , under the persons with disability fund, the Assembly was able to hand over economic empowerment items as start-ups to ten (10) beneficiaries in March, 2022 comprising five males and five females including victims of the shooting incidence during the demonstration of youth groups against ECG. The Assembly was currently compiling the list of applicants for the next allocation.
Hon. PM, in addition to the above, the district fund management committee (DFMC) disbursed in line with the guidelines to PWDs for settlement of school fees for 35 PWDs and 5 persons benefited from medical support. This brings to a total of 566 beneficiaries of the fund since 2017.
6.0 CLEARING OF WATER HYACINTH
Hon. PM, the Volta River Authority in collaboration with the Municipal Assembly has commenced clearing of water hyacinth on the Kpong Habour. Honourable members and the community members around the lake should take note and cooperate with the team undertaking the exercise.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (EXECO)
The Executive Committee met on Thursday, 7th April, 2022 and came up with the following recommendations for consideration and approval by the General Assembly.
1. Hon. Assembly Members to assist the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited in educating the general public on the installation of prepaid meters in the municipality.
2. The Committee recommended the re-introduction of Marine Police on the Volta Lake to reduce the rampant menace of dead bodies on the lake.
3. The Assembly through its Works Department should barricade uncompleted toilet facilities that are being used as ghettos.
4. Intensify Police Patrol at the Agormanya and Kpongunor Markets areas in the night.
5. The Committee recommended for the Assembly Members to pay their basic rates (GHS3.00) from their sitting allowance to improve on the revenue collections.
6. Renovate or fix all broken down or malfunctioning boreholes in the middle bet especially in Tsledom.
7. Conversion of a 6-Unit Classroom into CHPS Compound at Ayermesu Yokuyim after approval from the Municipal Director of Health Services and Head of the Works Department.
8. Reshape the deplorable road in the middle belt especially at Popotia.
Hon. Presiding Member, as I conclude, I wish to urge and encourage Hon. Members to give off their best in the face of all the challenges they face as Assembly Members. In your own small way, continue to educate and sensitize your communities on the need to honor their tax obligations to the Assembly, the need to keep their surroundings clean and the need to keep the peace we are enjoying. Let us use every little opportunity we have to educate the public on the work of the Assembly and the need to support the Assembly to deliver better services to the people.
On this note, I thank you all for your attention and wish you fruitful deliberations. God bless our homeland, Manya Krobo, and make it great and strong.