Regional News of Saturday, 21 December 2013
Source: Graphic Online
The Volta Regional Minister, Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, has identified the misapplication of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to procure fuel for assembly vehicles under the guise of using the vehicles for project monitoring as a drain on development.
He also said recurrent expenditure such as the payment of hotel, entertainment, telephone, water and electricity bills and donation towards funerals and festivals, as well as repair and maintenance of office vehicles and equipment, were being abused.
Expressing his reservations on certain irregularities identified in connection with the legitimate operations of districts and municipal assemblies which may retard development processes in the region, he also observed that funds from the DACF were committed to district assembly activities without estimates or budgets which were not properly retired.
Mr Afotey-Agbo, who was addressing the Volta Regional Coordinating Council meeting for district and municipal chief executives, presiding members and heads of departments at Ho on Thursday, said the all important maintenance culture was virtually non-existent and that there were misplaced narrations of pay vouchers and non-entry of proper records in the financial documents.
He said most of the assemblies failed to update and issue current trial balances, and still ignored the issue of warrants before payments were effected.
He, however, said a total of 145 projects had been either completed or ongoing in the road, health, education, water, agriculture sectors in the region, with the breakdown as 23 projects in the roads sector, 12 projects for health, 49- education, 28 in water and sanitation, three each in communication and agriculture, four on security, five on chieftaincy and culture, and 18 projects for local government administration.
On security in the region, the regional minister said the security across the region was under control and that the regional security council was doing everything within its power to manage the various existing conflict situations in the region.
He said the main threat to the security of the region was the Alavanyo and Nkonya conflict on which peace and security initiatives were improving, and charged the Biakoye District and the Hohoe Municipal Assembly to take steps to hold periodic joint security meetings to smoothen any emerging conflict situations.
For the conflict between the indigenes of the Gbi Traditional Area and the Zongo community in Hohoe, he said it had been almost resolved, and disclosed that the government was taking steps to compensate the victims of the communal violence, pleading with the victims to exercise much patience and restraint pending the finalisation of the process.
Mr Afotey-Agbo advised all leaders to tread cautiously in matters regarding chieftaincy and land disputes, which continued to plague the region, and asked that they tackle the security aspect and refer the substantive cases to the courts and the regional house of chiefs.
In an address, the Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Emmanuel Ketteku, said the Volta Region continued to register poor performances by pupils at the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), although it had been the cradle of education some years back.
According to him, performances at the BECE had dropped by 22.1 percent within four years, adding that the region scored 48.7 percent in 2009, as against the national average of 67 percent; and the performance plummeted from 48.7 percent to 42.9 percent in 2010.
He said the performance dipped further in 2012 to a worse score of 27.8 percent against expectations, but regained some hope with a score of 39 percent in the latest results.
Briefing the meeting on the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the Regional Economic Planning Officer, Mr Christoper Afenyo, said 600 farmers in five districts in the northern sector of the region had benefited from the supply of improved maize seeds and fertilisers from 2011 to date.
According to him, 3, 460 bags of improved maize seeds and 8000 bags of fertiliser were distributed to the beneficiaries, adding that a total of 27 tractors, with accompanying plough, harrow and trailer, were also distributed to them from 2012 to 2013 through service providers.
He, however, said the main challenge facing the project in the region was the late delivery of inputs, and that seemed to threaten the success of the project.
Mr Afenyo disclosed that a housing project was about to take off and that artisans were undergoing a training programme to kick start the project.
For his part, the Volta Regional Deputy Director of Ghana Health Service (GHS) in charge of clinical services, Mr Robert Adatsi, disclosed that there were 377 health facilities in the region, with 67 doctors at post, and that the doctor population ratio was 1:35,877 while 1432 nurses were available with a nurse population ratio of 1:1327.
He said 730 Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) had been aligned to the various electoral areas, but only 333 were functional so far.