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Assembies urged to initiate economic programmes

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Accra, Jan. 24, GNA— Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister-designate for the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry, has tasked the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to undertake economic initiatives that would enhance internal revenue mobilisation.

‘‘Engendering to generate funds for local development is critical since the Ministry has developed economic development policy, therefore, the assemblies must take advantage and institute economic livelihood programmes for the people,’’ she said.

Hajia Mahama, the Member of Parliament for Nalerigu-Gambaga in the Northern Region, gave the advice when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, on Monday, to be vetted.

Addressing a question regarding ensuring financial discipline at the assemblies, the nominee explained that financial discipline was sine qua non in managing the Assembly’s resources and cited the Auditor General’s Report, which in the past alluded to financial malfeasance at the assemblies, especially procurement procedures, statutory irregularities and revenue misappropriation.

She, therefore, called for proper monitoring and tracking of funds so that any public officer found culpable of any financial malfeasance would be dealt with accordingly.

Hajia Mahama, a Gender Consultant, said although Ghana was implementing the Government Integrated Finance Management Information System (GIFMIS), an Information Technology based system for budget management and reporting processes to ensure accountability, there was a problem with Internet connectivity.

She, therefore, assured that when given the nod, her outfit would collaborate with the Ministry of Communications to improve on internet accessibility at the various assemblies.

The nominee also added that she would ensure that the chunk of the central government’s allocations get to the assemblies in view of complaints of many deductions done at the national level thereby depriving the assemblies’ access to funds for their own activities.

With regards to the authority she had in dismissing the 216 Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) when she had not been approved as Minister, Hajia Mahama said, after being nominated as the Minister for the sector, she received a letter dated January 9, from the President authorising her as a representative of the President at the Ministry.

She said that gave her the mandate to send letters to the MMDCEs to terminate their appointments.

She justified the dismissal saying: ‘‘I acted on the directives of the President of the Republic because Article 58 (1) of the Constitution vested the executive authority of Ghana in the President and that authority can be exercised either directly by him or through officers subordinate to him.’’

She pointed out that the decision was taken in accordance with the 1992 Constitution, therefore, she had not contravened the law.

Hajia Mahama, a former Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, gave the assurance that she would support many women to be elected to the assembly through district level elections, and also lobby for more women to be appointed.

With regards to Government's implementation of the election of MMDCEs as captured in the New Patriotic Party’s Manifesto, the nominee assured that the Government was committed to the cause and gave a two-year time frame for the policy to be implemented after the necessary constitutional amendments had been carried out.

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