The Minister of State designate to the Ministry and of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, has served notice to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to be up and doing or get relieved of their duties.
Mr Amoah said the era where the chief executives sleep on the job in relation to physical developments in their area was over.
According to him, the Local Governance Act, 2016, Act 936 empowers them to take charge of spatial developments in their areas and that no MMDCE must renege on that mandate.
Answering questions before the Appointments Committee in Parliament, Accra, yesterday, Mr Amoah who is currently the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development said erection of structures in unauthorised places would be a thing of the past if authorities exercise their lawful powers without fear or favour.
“When you look at the law and the siting of unauthorised structures, the chief executives are mandated to give notice to ask offenders to abate or ask for modification and eventually serve notice and be able to demolish such structures.
“Even for public places (like waterways and public lands), you don’t even need to go through all these. You just go ahead and demolish because that structure is not supposed to be there in the first place. You may be charitable to give notice but the ultimate thing is that this is not your land and you cannot site a structure here.
“I have always maintained that if you are a chief executive and you want to make your work easier, you don’t look at people put up concrete blocks, mount containers on them before you move in to demolish. You should stop them when they start and that makes your work easier.
“Unfortunately, you see that chief executives wait for structures to be put up before you see notices and attempts to pull them down.
“For the MMDCEs, they have been warned. If you don’t deliver, you have to make way for others who can do the work to come and continue because that is your mandate.”
He said the law also empowers the MMDCEs, through the district planning authority, to surcharge offenders and demolish the structure at the same time.
For the MMDCEs to appreciate their power under the Act, Mr Amoah, MP, Akuapim South, said his outfit has been trying to let them know the law in order to sanitise the spatial space in the country at the local level and not for a minister to come down before the right thing was done.
To give impetus to this commitment, he said the Land Use and Spatial Authority, formerly an agency of the Ministry of Environment has been realigned to the Local Government Ministry.
“Every district has one. They have so much power as far as our planning is concerned but some of the chief executives sometimes don’t show so much courage in executing their mandates.
“As chief executive, they have so much power, their functions are spelt out and it is time they start executing that mandate,” he stressed.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI