General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
In a bid to keep government closer to the citizenry and promote a governance system that allowed the citizenry to hold the Government accountable any day and not only during campaign platforms, the Ministry of Information has held a maiden Town Hall Meeting in Tema.
The Town Hall meeting, which is being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, is aimed at interacting with the various segments of the society and also to create a platform for them to ask relevant questions on development issues and the utilization of Assembly resources to better their lives.
The programme forms part of a series of town-hall meetings that would be held yearly in all 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the country to sensitise citizens and to answer their questions on government policies and activities.
Launching the programme, the Minister of Information, Mr. Mustapha Hamid said it is important that government forges a meaningful partnership with the Ghanaian people on the numerous policies being implemented with their taxes hence the introduction of the Town Hall meetings.
According to him, one of the reasons behind the establishment of the Ministry of Information was to ensure free flow of information such that every citizen gets the opportunity to know what government was doing with their taxes.
“We do not believe that governance should be about elections where every four years, politicians come around, organize rally, talk at you, tell you what they are doing while another group of politicians opposes. Rather, in our view, the governance process should be a daily process and that is exactly what these Town Hall meetings are meant to achieve.
He said aside the Town Hall Meetings; the Ministry has also introduced the National Policy Summit to involve other stakeholders and the citizenry in the governance system.
The Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama, said the local government system entails the active involvement of the local population in ensuring improved quality of service and leadership and this demands greater participation of civil society and citizens in decision making for effective consensus building and civic awareness.
She tasked the MMDAS to extend the Town Hall Meetings to the sub structures of the Assembly system to bring governance to the doorstep of the citizenry.
Open door Policy
The Metropolitan Chief Executive for Tema, Mr. Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La assured people in the metropolis that his administration would operate an open-door policy in ways that seeks to improve the living standards of the people.
He pledged to work toward a complete restoration of Ghana’s industrial city of Tema to its glorious past as a model city during the Nana Akufo-Addo presidency.
Many residents asked questions ranging from the worsening sanitation situation, poor waste management, lack of street lights, revenue collection, job creation and unemployment, among other concerns, to which the MCE, the three Members of Parliament in the metropolis, namely Mr Daniel Titus Glover, (Tema East), Kofi Brako, (Tema Central) and Carlos Ahenkorah, ( Tema West) as well as the Minister of Information and Local Government, tool turns to respond to.
Mr Titus-Glover, for instance, expressed concern about how revenue collection from some big companies in Tema have been outsourced to private entities stressing that this has resulted in low revenue generation for the assembly.
These include VALCO, Nestle Ghana, GTP, GHACEM, ALUWORKS and TOR. He tasked the TMA to take steps to remedy the situation and mobilize the funds for development.
Members of the Invisible Forces who got an opportunity to ask a question at the programme vowed to visit mayhem on government officials for what they perceived as failure on the part of government officials to offer them jobs.
Spokesperson of the group, Mr. Stanley Arthur said they were promised jobs during the electioneering campaign but now that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is in power, they have turned their backs on them to the extent that, phone calls to them are unanswered.
They vowed that if that behaviour is not reversed, what happened in Kumasi where some of their members stormed the courts and offices of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to eject a government appointee will be replicated in Tema.