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Regional News of Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Source: GNA

Slum growth rate stands at 4.7 percent in Ghana - MLGRD

Takoradi, Oct. 05, GNA — Slum growth rate in the cities and towns stands at 4.7 percent, according to statistics from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).

Mr Kojo Yeboah, a senior officer at the MLGRD, said social challenges associated with slum development including inaccessibility to basic social amenities such as water and electricity, unemployment and land-use disorders pose great danger to the socio-economic development of the country.

He said 51.8 percent of the population live in urban centres with 4.9 percent urbanization growth suggesting that, “as a nation we must re-think about our urban agenda by involving all the major stakeholders in planning.’’

Mr Yeboah said this at the “First Ghana Urban Forum” in Takoradi on Tuesday, when presenting a paper on the “General Overview of Housing and Urban Development in Ghana”.

He said social menace associated with slum development included poor sanitation, increased poverty, prostitution and drug addiction that threaten the peace of urban dwellers.

The participants were drawn from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Non Governmental Organizations, traditional rulers and the media.

Mr Yeboah attributed the upsurge of slums to lack of political will to control the situation and cited Kumasi, Tema, Accra and Sekondi-Takoradi as cities that had most of these slums growing at a faster rate.

He said lack of coordination among institutions mandated to ensure proper planning of our cities and towns was part of the current upsurge of slums in the urban centres.

Mr Lawrence Dakurah, a Deputy Director of the Town and Country Planning, who presented a paper on the “Draft Land-Use and Planning Bill”, said lack of comprehensive legal land-use framework negatively influenced the development agenda.

He said it was heartwarming for the government to have initiated a review of the land-use related legislations and laws for a policy document with consultation from all the stakeholders.

Mr Dakurah observed that key findings of the review included lack of harmonization of laws and land use-planning, lack of inter-sectoral approach, Town and Country Planning Department not placed under appropriate Ministry as well as lack of update on legislation on land-use plan to meet current trends.

He said 473 laws on land-use plan were reviewed which aimed at consolidating, harmonizing and integrating all laws on land-use plan into one document.

Mr Dakurah indicated that implementation of the land-use plan document would consider the following: institutional reforms, partnership in urban management and spatial land-use planning systems.

Others include reduction of duration of land registration process, database for easy access, public education programmes on land-use plan as well as enforcement and compliance of laws on slum development.

This, according to him, would go a long way to ensure proper planning of the cities and towns and curb the rate of slum development in the urban centres.

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