Politics of Thursday, 14 June 2012

Source: GNA

Two new districts in UWR ready for inauguration - Regional Minister

The Upper West Regional Coordinating Council has completed preparatory works for the inauguration of the Nandom and Daffiama/Bussie/Issa Districts; Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, the Regional Minister announced on Wednesday. .

Addressing the Regional Coordinating Council at a meeting in Wa, the Regional Minister said the necessary infrastructure had been laid for the smooth take-off of the two districts and dates would soon be announced for their inauguration,

The meeting which was summoned at the instance of Alhaji Sulemana was to establish fruitful and effective working relationship with the Council, heads of government departments and agencies, as well as other stakeholders including traditional rulers to increase productivity at workplaces and ensure peace in the region.

Alhaji Sulemana called on traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the two districts to see the creation of the districts as an opportunity to improve the living conditions of the people.

“Districts are vehicles of progress and development and not an end by themselves and we must rather use them to achieve the goals of development”, he said.

He called on all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to focus on making life better for their people, saying the efforts of the MMDAs had been boosted by the creation of the Local Government Service and the subsequent passing of LI 1961 which now made most government agencies at the district level departments of the assemblies.

The implementation of the composite budget system would now also enable MMDAs to prioritise and control all activities of the departments and streamline their operations in the district. He noted.

“We therefore have the opportunity by this consolidation of decentralisation to comprehensively plan and implement policies, programmes and projects to tackle the several deprivations that we face as a region”, Alhaji Sulemana told members of the Council.

Alhaji Sulemana reminded them about the traditional role of the RCC in harmonizing fee-fixing resolutions, development projects and programmes of MMDAs, as well as building consensus on the implementation of regional projects; saying that these roles had diminished in recent times.

As a result, the Council had lost the benefit of adopting regional approaches to several issues by MMDAs and also a regional consensus on issues. There was therefore the need for the council to return to those roles to recapture the benefits of collective action, he said.

The Regional Minister announced that the RCC would hold a meeting within the year to specifically discuss proposed fee-fixing resolutions and annual action plans of MMDAs, to provide useful inputs into them before approval by the respective MMDAs.

On health, Alhaji Sulemana said the lack of qualified health personnel, especially doctors, in the region had been a serious concern to the people as there were only eight Ghanaian doctors serving in the region.

Against the Region's current population of 702,000, the Ghanaian doctor/patient ratio stands at 1:87,750, a situation that undermines access to quality medical care and healthcare delivery.

Alhaji Sulemana suggested to the municipal and district assemblies in the region to consider offering sponsoreship to students to be trained as medical officers starting next academic year, to help address the problem in the long term.

He said he was also worried about the low patronage by rural people of the National Health Insurance Scheme, and appealed to the district assemblies to help educate and encourage the people, especially the poor to enroll on the scheme.

The Regional Minister urged the assemblies to give more attention to the provision of infrastructure for the operationalisation of more police stations in the communities to provide security for the people.

Alhaji Sulemana appealed to the Regional House of Chiefs and the Regional Peace Council to initiate the process of dialogue in all areas of disputes to seek an amicable and lasting solution to such disputes in the communities.**