… Accepts budget estimates of Local Govt Ministry

Parliament has approved the budget estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the implementation of its planned activities and programmes for the year ending December 31, 2017.

Of the GH¢321, 830, 688 approved, GH¢272,522,833 is donor funded, representing 85 per cent of the total budget.

The approved amount is an upward adjustment of about GH¢ 93.1 million allocated to that ministry in 2016.

Per the report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, GH¢ 18 million of the budget will be spent on compensations, GH¢84.2 million on goods and services and GH¢219.6 earmarked for assets.

The sector Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, moving the motion for the adoption of the report, and its approval in Parliament, yesterday, named a five-point agenda, which the ministry intends to undertake for the year under review.

It includes providing formal training for 1,500 youth in technical and vocational education, training of 450 technical instructors on TVET reforms by August, 2017, and expansion of  the community population registration programme in 30 communities, by establishing registration centres in 26 communities.

The rest are completion of the construction and rehabilitation of 101 feeder roads, rehabilitation of 67 small earth dams in rural communities, under the Ghana Social Opportunity Project, and provision of farm inputs, including fertilizers and seedlings, to at least 4,000 farmer groups and other actors along the agriculture value chain.

According to the report, jointly signed by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Kwasi Boateng Adjei, and Clerk to the Committee, Mr. Camillo Pwamang, there was an outstanding US$ 40 million counterpart funding for the District Development Fund (DDF).

Failure to provide for the counterpart fund meant the ministry will not be able to draw down the donor support under the DDF, the report added.

Ho Central lawmaker, and Ranking Member of the Committee, Mr. Benjamin Kpodo, urged the ministry to continue with the street naming exercise, to ensure proper addressing system, to enhance revenue generation.

Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Akim Swedru MP, urged government to find a sustainable funding source for the ministry, because relying on donor support to fund activities and programmes of the ministry was unsustainable and unaccepted.

The Minority Leader, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, expressed his caucus’ disagreement with the realignment of the District Assemblies Common Fund, which he said had led to underfunding of the fund.

Mr. Iddrisu hinted that the minority will be heading to the Supreme Court to invoke the jurisdiction of that court on Article 252(2) of the Constitution.

Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adjoa Safo, said the government was in no breach of the constitution, and that everything was being done in line with the tenets of the constitution, adding the government meant good for public service delivery.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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