The Jomoro District Assembly in the Western Region has held its second Ordinary General Meeting for the year 2017 to address challenges facing the District and finding solutions to it.
The meeting brought together the District Chief Executive (DCE), Jomoro Magistrate, Assemblymen and women, Government appointees, Chiefs and Queen mother, Heads of Department, Political Party Executives, Non-Governmental Organizations and the media.
Addressing the meeting, the DCE Hon. Ernest Kofie, expressed profound gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for the opportunity granted him to represent him in the Jomoro District.
He also thanked the Paramount Chief of Western Nzema Traditional Council, Awulea Annor Adjaye III, Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie and his Deputy, Hon Eugenia Kusi, the Member of Parliament of the area, Hon. Paul Essien, Assembly Members, Heads of Department among others for their unflinching support given to him.
The District Chief Executive took over the administration of the Jomoro District on 1st November, 2017 and assumed work officially on Monday November 6, 2017.
Security Situation In The District
The Members were briefed on the security situation in the area.
Hon. Ernest Kofie expressed his worries over the security threats in the District and called on the Members of the Assembly to play their roles in sustaining peace in the area.
“There is a relatively calm security situation in the District. However, stealing of coconut, chieftaincy disputes in areas such as Bonyere, Ellenda, Tikobo No. 2, Nvellenu, Bawia and the use of motorbikes for commercial purpose popularly known as ‘Okada’ are however threats to security in the District.
There was also a murder case at Takinta four months ago and armed robbery at Elubo, which resulted in the death of one person about two months ago.
The DISEC and other agencies are working assiduously to maintain peace in the District.
Hon. PM, most of the security agencies are operating under very challenging conditions. Office and residential accommodations woefully inadequate. The current Police- Citizen ratio of the one police to about two thousand (1:2,000) people puts a lot of pressure on the police.
Let us all be involved in the maintenance of peace in the District by volunteering the needed security information to the police for the necessary urgent action. I want to also plead with Hon. Members to remain neutral in all disputes, especially chieftaincy and land related disputes”, he highlighted.
Hon. Presiding Member, this year has been very challenging. The Internally Generated Fund (IGF) is not doing well ad expected. The Assembly estimated to collect an amount of GHc. 712,732.00 in 2017. The total collection as at 30th September, 2017, stood at GHc. 350,554.84, representing 49 per cent of the budgeted figure.
Management has put in place a revenue task force to augment the effort of the revenue staff. A revenue Committee involving the various revenue departments have also been put in place to compile data and do regular assessment of the revenue performance. Public education on revenue have also been organized.
We are also going to vigorously embark on the collection of property rates. This combined with the operations of the taskforce would enable us realise enough funds for developments.
Most of the statutory funds are still in arrears. The fourth quarter of 2016 and the first and second quarters of 2017 of the District Assemblies Common Fund totaling GHc. 900,615.89 have been received. The first and second quarters allocations of the MP’s Common Fund have also been received. The Assembly is still in wait for the third and fourth quarters allocations. Nothing had been received yet for DDF.
Planting for Food and Investment Programme
The planting for food, jobs and investment programme by government is on-going in the District. Pepper and rice production is being promoted under the food and jobs programme.
20 bags of rice seed, 595 sachets of pepper seed, 100 bags of ammonium fertilizer and 100 bags of NPK have been supplied to farmers under the programme. One Female Agric Extension Officer has been posted to beef up the staff strength of the Agric Department.
Fifty-one (51) Farmers have cultivated a total if 51.0 hectares of land for pepper production in 12 communities.
The Agric District Department will soon embark on sensitization exercise to encourage groups and individuals to engage in the cultivation of these crops. Various credits and inputs support facilities are available under the programme.
One District, One Factory
Hon. PM, frantic efforts are being made for the establishment of industries in the District under the 1D-1F policy. The industries are to be established from the coconut and oil and gas raw materials.
I call on Honourable Members and the traditional authorities to effectively collaborate to play their respective roles well to provide the congenital environment for these industries to thrive.
Ghana School Feeding Programme
According to him, “This initiative by government is on course in the District. New caterers who applied for the programme were interviewed in July 2017 and have subsequently been appointed to work on the programme”
He also revealed that fourteen new caterers have been appointed to start cooking for the beneficiary schools in the District.
He also added that payment for the first term of 2016/2017 academic year has been paid. “The second and third terms payment are in arrears”.
Major Development Projects
Hon. PM, not much physical projects were witness in the District during the period. Most of the projects executed were roll-on projects from 2016. Prominent among the projects are;
1. Part payment for industrial site at Elubo
2. Construction of No. 1 Semi-detached Staff accommodation at Half Assini – 82% completion
3. Construction of CHPs compound at Nuba and Mpataba – 100% completed
4. Construction of CHPs compound at Adusuazo – 95% completion
5. Construction of 6-unit classroom block with ancillary facilities at Anwiafutu – 90% completion
6. Re-roofing of DCD’s bungalow – 100 completed
7. Rehabilitation of market sheds at Tikobo No. 1 – 100% completed
8. Rehabilitation of borehole at Ahobre – 100% completed.
Key Development Challenges
Hon. Ernest Kofie outlined the following development challenges confronting the District:
1. High unemployment rate, especially among the youth
2. Inadequate office and residential accommodation for staff, including the security agencies
3. Ineffective Area Councils
4. Lack of reliable means of transport for official duties
5. Low revenue generation
6. Poor sanitation, especially at the market centers
7. Poor road, lorry parks and market infrastructure
8. Poor education infrastructure resulting in poor academic performance
The DCE therefore, pleaded with the stakeholders in the district to collaborate with him and find lasting solutions to the challenges.
Vision for the District
The DCE outline the following as his vision:
1. Create employment opportunities for the people especially the teeming youth through investment in tourism, agriculture and industry
2. Improve governance structures through the provision of office and staff accommodation, provision of reliable means of transport, provision of office equipment and logistics and the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations
3. Improve District Assembly revenue performance, through the provision and rehabilitation of market infrastructure and sanitation, intensification of revenue collection and effective management of the District Assembly Guest House
4. Improve quality of education through construction and rehabilitation of educational facilities and effective monitoring supervision
5. Improve health conditions of the people through improve sanitation, improve access to reliable and portable water supply and provision of basic healthcare infrastructure and service among others.
The DCE admitted that the District traditional sources of revenue thus, I.G.F, DDF, DACF etc can’t not be enough to help achieve the above objectives and visions hence the District has to look beyond the traditional sources.
He therefore pledged his support to forge strategic partnership with traditional authorities, private sector, public institutions, NGOs and individuals, “to attract the needed investment to design, and implement programmes and projects to impact positively on the lives of the people”.
Formation of Sub-Committees
The Presiding Member (PM) for the District, Hon. John Yankey, supervised the various formation of sub-committees that would help the running of the District.
These are the following sub-committees according to Local Government Act 2016 (Act 936);
1. Development Planning sub-committee
2. Social Service sub-committee
3. Works sub-committee
4. Finance and Administration sub-committee
5. Tourism sub-committee
6. Sanitation and Environment sub-committee
7. Extractive, Micro and Small Scale Business sub-committee
8. Justice and Security
9. Public Relations and Complains Committee.