Invest in rural economies – Dep Minister-designate

Business News of Saturday, 13 April 2013

Source: Graphic Business

Deputy Minister designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, has called for more investments in rural economies as a means to boost internally generated funds for district assemblies.

He said when local economies were enhanced the district assemblies would have more avenues to raise funds to enable them to draw and implement their own development plans without seeking support from the central government.

Mr Agyekum, who appeared before the Appointments Committee, said there was the need for all district assemblies to take advantage of their local potentials and develop them to generate wealth for their people.

He said the traditional ways of generating funds should also be reviewed and suggested that district assemblies should outsource their revenue collection to inject efficiency in their revenue mobilisation efforts.

Mr Agyekum, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nkoranza South, also suggested that vigorous monitoring systems should be adopted to ensure that revenue collectors did not pocket what they collected to the disadvantage of the district assemblies. Touching on the tension between district chief executives and Members of Parliament, the nominee said there was the need for DCEs and MPs to be sensitised to understand that they all had their peculiar roles to play in the development of their areas.

On the suggestion that DCEs should be elected, Mr Agyekum said it would be good for the people to be directly involved in the election of their DCEs, since that would make them more accountable. He, however, explained that though the Constitutional Review Commission had made such a suggestion, the necessary constitutional amendments needed to be effected to ensure that DCEs were elected.

Touching on remuneration for assembly members, Mr Agyekum said it was necessary that assembly members who were working hard to ensure development in the districts took place were rewarded to entice them to give their best.

He acknowledged that since the national resources could not cater for such a venture, the district assemblies had to do more to increase their internal revenue mobilisation.