Feature Article of Sunday, 15 July 2012
Columnist: Thompson, Kofi
District Assemblies: Tap The Talent For Innovation & Harness Energies Of Ghana's Middle Class
By Kofi Thompson
A project to cover the access road leading from their very expensive homes, unto the portion of the Accra-Cape Coast road near Jayee University College, with concrete, by my neighbours, is nearing completion.
It is an example of how the talent for innovation and considerable energies of middle class Ghanaians, can be harnessed by District Assemblies, to develop many neighbourhoods across urban Ghana.
To complete the project, my neighbours urgently need to raise more money - in addition to the Ghc1000 they have each contributed thus far.
Mulling over the question of finding an innovative way for them to fund the completion of the final phase of their project, I wondered precisely what catastrophe would befall the Ga South District Assembly, if it stepped in to help them complete it.
Perhaps an innovative way to fund such community self-help projects to improve neighbourhoods in urban areas, would be for the Ga South District Assembly to cede the money those neighbours of mine will have to pay in property rates next year, to them, for doing what the District Assembly ought to have done in the first place, if it were fully alive to its responsibilities.
If property rates paid annually by homeowners, who undertake community projects to improve the neighbourhoods they live in, could be waived by District Assemblies as a tax incentive to help to improve those neighbourhoods, would the quality of life for residents of such areas not improve dramatically across urban Ghana?
District Assemblies ought to seriously consider this approach as an option available to them, to improve roads and other infrastructure in the areas they administer.
They must encourage partnerships with resident associations formed by those living in neighbourhoods like the one I currently reside in - as a way of sharing the burden of developing residential areas under their jurisdiction.
Perhaps a visit to our neighbourhood by the District Chief Executive of the Ga South District Assembly, could show him what such an innovative approach to developing urban Ghana, could achieve.
District Assemblies ought to seriously consider tapping the talent for innovation, and harnessing the considerable energies, of Ghana's burgeoning middle class. A word to the wise...
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