Oppong Fosu to make sanitation national priority

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Akwasi Oppong Fosu, has pledged to make the issue of sanitation a national priority.

According to him, the priority of the ministry was to enforce sanitation bye-laws that would prohibit people from littering the environment adding that, “this poses serious health hazards to the nation”.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra, Mr Oppong Fosu indicated that sanitation lacked proper education and sensitisation as compared to other important issues in the country that attracts public interest and concern adding that, “the health of a nation contributes largely to its growth and development”.

He said as a middle income country, the issue of sanitation must be a major concern to all and people must take interest in sanitation-related issues with all the seriousness it deserved.

“As part of the environmental sanitation management, it is in our interest to prevent people from selling along the drains because this practice is not hygienic and does not auger well for the country”, he said.

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He said steps would be taken by the Ministry, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that all existing drains were covered as well as discourage the construction of such drains through the enactment of bye-laws.

He explained that the ministry was ready to support the initiative of a recycling plant that would recycle plastic waste in order to eradicate problems associated with floods as well as diseases such as cholera and malaria.

According to the minister, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) should put up attractive and comfortable market places at different locations within the country to keep traders and buyers away from the capital city.

“If this is not done, then there is no way traders will go off the streets of Accra to make the city decongested”, he said.

The issue of urban and rural policy, he stressed, was a major area his ministry would look at and would continue with the Local Economic Development (LED) project to reduce urban migration.

Mr Oppong Fosu said, his ministry would build the capacity of MMDAs to develop strategies that would create employment opportunities and attract the private sector to invest in certain areas of the economy.

He noted that the time had come for Ghanaians to assess and re-examine the focus of the decentralisation process and determine what was actually lacking as far as empowering the MMDAs to carry out their mandate of creating an enabling environment to speed up developmental projects at the local level.

He said his ministry would sharpen its policy making skills to make MMDAs benefit from its policies and to achieve the performance management scheme set up by the ministry.

 “We will also strengthen the capacity of MMDAs for accountable, transparent, efficient performance and service delivery”, he added

“Am looking into the future with lots of hope where the end point will be the delivery of service by the MMDAs and added that, we must ensure that we come out with the right policy in order to achieve the ministry’s mandate delivery of service”, he said.

 The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, he said, existed to promote the establishment and development of a vibrant and well-resourced decentralised system of local government for the people of Ghana to ensure good governance and balanced rural-based development.

Story by Jennifer Ansah