The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has directed unemployed graduates in the country to venture into acquiring skills in barbering, hairdressing, tailoring, mobile phone repairing and computer assembling in order to earn an income.
He said this initiative would help them to establish their own businesses with the support of the ministry, stating that the Local Government ministry was willing to support the private entities engaged in these fields to train more youth in the country.
According to him, the initiative was in line with the ministry’s quest to ensure that unemployed graduates are self-reliant, disclosing that equipment and other logistics were given to beneficiaries for free.
He therefore urged the youth to take advantage of this programme to establish themselves to help in the local development of the country which he described as the mainstay of Ghana’s economy.
Addressing delegates at the 17th Biennial Delegates Congress of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) in Tamale, Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo said it was imperative for the various Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to mobilize resources for local economic development.
Local economic development, he explained, was the key to local economic activities which created employment at the local level. He lamented about the weak financial base of the various assemblies in initiating developmental projects, appealing to the various stakeholders within the MMDAs to partner government in widening the resource base of the various assemblies in order to facilitate development.
The minister also appealed to the various assemblies to undertake key joint economic ventures as enshrined by the Local Government Act.
He said the adoption of the Ghana Shared Programme and Development Agenda was to propel the nation’s quest to achieve growth and development.
The emphasis of this project, he noted, was through modernized agriculture, industrialization and sustainable exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources and effective decentralization to enhance local economic development.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo reiterated government’s commitment to promote decentralization, indicating that the slash in the number of unit committee members from 60,000 to 5,000 was a clear manifestation it indeed opted for the best.
He announced that 2,200 new motorbikes had been ordered by his ministry to cater for assembly members of the 42 new districts, warning that the location of district capitals in these new districts should not create animosity among residents.
“We can only have one district capital in a district and residents must come to terms with this reality,” he remarked.
The minister bemoaned the recurring rifts between Presiding Members and Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) at the various assemblies, resulting in the infamous ‘vote of no confidence’, explaining that this should rather be the last resort instead of first.
Reports of these upheavals, according to him, was not auguring well for development at the grassroots, urging both parties to live beyond reproach and not allow their self interest to override the interest of the entire district.
The President of NALAG, Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, catalogued projects undertaken under his regime including the construction of an office complex for the association which was about 70% complete.
He commended government for procuring motorbikes for assembly persons but appealed that their ex-gratia be paid from the consolidated fund in order to lift the burden from the various assemblies whose budgets were already overstretched.
The outgoing president joined calls for calm between MMDCEs and Presiding Members, observing that the continued hostility among the two could spell doom for the assemblies involved and derail their development.
Source: Stephen Zoure, Tamale
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