Bolgatanga, April 3, GNA - The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, has called on the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly to be a pacesetter in Internal Generated Revenue for the rest of the twelve Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region to follow suit.
He said the Bolgatanga Municipal was one of the richest in the country as it had a lot of businesses including financial institutions that could be good sources of revenue for the Assembly.
“The Assembly is sitting on gold and yet it is comfortable being one of the poorest Assemblies in the country,” he said.
The Regional Minister said this when the Regional Child Protection Network paid him a courtesy call at the Regional Coordinating Council to brief him about the status of the welfare of children in the Region.
Mr Bukari said as a former Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive, he provided leadership that always led to the increase of Internal Generated Revenue for the Assembly and urged the leadership of the Assembly to be proactive and to also plug all loopholes through which funds were siphoned illegally.
Whilst commending the Regional Child Protection Network for their hard work, the Regional Minister gave the assurance that he would task all the Municipal and District Assemblies in the Region to mobilize resources to tackle the problems confronting children in the Region.
He tasked the team not to limit its activities to the regional capital but to spread their activities to cover the entire Region so as to help address the issues holistically.
Presenting some of the problems confronting children in the Region, the Regional Coordinator of the Child Network, Mrs Georgina Aberese-Ako, mentioned child marriage, refusal and inability of most parents to provide for the needs of their children, low birth registration, child trafficking and violence against children and teenage pregnancies especially among girls in basic schools.
Other problems include child begging, child migration, street children, adults engaging children to commit crime, children with disability and galamsay activities, she said.
“Many young girls between the ages of nine to 17 years are often defiled by adult men and parents do not report the perpetrators due to fear of stigma. Child labour is another concern in the region. The Region has the second highest rate of child labour in the country at 34.1 percent of children aged five to14. ”.
The Regional Coordinator told the Regional Minister that in spite of the fact that the Network with support from UNICEF had embarked upon a number of activities including the training of child protection teams, outreach programs at schools and communities and radio discussions and advocacy programmes , it was faced with the challenges of lack of funds for medical examination of sexually abused victims, inadequate logistics to follow up cases, lack of temporal shelter for victims as well as the challenges of prosecuting perpetrators because most victims did not have birth certificate to determine their ages.