The Ga South Municipal Assembly (GASMA) has held its annual town hall meeting to render an account of its stewardship to the chiefs and people within the municipality.
The forum was attended by chiefs, assembly members, Unit Committee members, opinion leaders and members of the community and it provided stakeholders with an opportunity to scrutinise the work of the assembly, ask questions and offer suggestions to address challenges the assembly faces in prosecuting its mandate.
It was on the theme: “Accountable governance for a Better Ghana.”
To deepen democracy and decentralisation, a number of assemblies across the country open up their doors through such fora to take stock of the past, examine the success and failures and chart a road map for the way forward.
Addressing the opening session, the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Jerry Akwei Thompson said by dint of hard work, perseverance and dedication, the assembly had been able to undertake some projects.
Mr Thompson said the assembly had been able to build new classroom blocks for most of the basic schools in the municipality and provided teachers accommodation where necessary. He further said that to improve access to secondary education, the assembly would be enrolling the first batch of students to the Langma Senior High School at the end of the 2016 academic year.
Concerning roads, the MCE said out of the assembly’s little resources, it had earmarked a number of roads for construction and rehabilitation.
He disclosed that the road unit constructed 684 metres of drains during the first half of the year at New Bortianor, Jerusalem and Aplaku Block Factory and undertook re-gravelling of the Mallam Kokroko, Gbawe and the Mallam Taxi rank.
To reduce road accidents on some major roads, the MCE said speed humps were also constructed on the Mallam and Weija main roads.
According to him, other activities undertaken included de-silting of earth and open drains at Gbawe, Mandela, Tetegu and Amanfrom. Potholes on the Gicel and Mallam roads were also filled. The construction of the John Evans Atta Mills By-pass, which is 24 kilometres long and will pass through Old Barrier, Kokrobite,Tuba, and Sapato, was going on with those on the Mandela road, Ayigbe Town and the Kokroko lorry park also progressing. When work on the Kokroko lorry park is completed , vehicles operating at the mallam Junction will be relocated to the Kokroko lorry park to bring sanity to the Junction.
The MCE said Ga South had the best climate for investment, sandy beaches, Ramsar sites for salt production, arable land for agriculture and the Weija Lake for tourism and urged the people to avail themselves of the opportunities and woo investors to the municipality.
Revenue and finance
He said in spite of the many teething problems that his administration encountered, it had put in place an open and decentralised administration that was gaining strength and has managed to put in place machinery for effective revenue mobilisation to safeguard unwarranted abuse.
He, however, admitted that the assembly could not achieve its revenue target due to unpayment of property rates as a result of the poor road infrastructure within the municipality.
Mr Akwei Thompson said the municipality was expanding with the building of the West Hill mall and that it would be appropriate and an obligation on the part of the residents to help the assembly in its revenue mobilisation and other collaborative efforts to enhance its performance. He urged the people and business enterprises to take keen interest in its performance. He added that the assembly had created a website in order to reach out to a wider audience and that over 50 countries had so far signed on to it. He called on businesses in the municipality to take advantage of it by advertising their products.
On some of the challenges facing the assembly, Mr Thompson admitted that there had been massive encroachment on government lands acquired for agricultural purposes and that the assembly had been tasked to approve layout and rectify the situation.
He said the process was going on and the assembly had also regularised some applications that had been assessed.
He added that those were being done to control development in the affected areas instead of allowing people to build haphazardly on roads, water courses and pathways.
The MCE implored residents to report people who have encroached on water courses and access roads in the municipality to the assembly for the necessary actions to be taken against them.
Some of the concerns raised by the participants bordered on the activities of land guards, chieftaincy disputes, multiple sale of lands, the poor road network and insecurity, especially the rampant armed robberies in the municipality.