Our Community Focus (OCOF) a Community-led Development NGO in the Ablekuma Central Municipality has organized a consultative stakeholder engagement meeting at the Max Doodo Presby Church, Lartebiokorshie under the theme; Brainstorming on Ablekuma Central’s Development; my participation my development.
The meeting was aimed at bringing on board all community stakeholders to hold the assembly accountable on the existing 2018 to 2021 Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) framework that expires in December and to actively participate in the next MTDP plan for the 2022 to 2025 developmental agenda.
Participants included officers from the Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly, Assembly and Unit Committee Members both past and current members, the clergy, traditional authorities, and other identifiable key stakeholders.
Speaking at the program, the Executive Director, OCOF, Mr. Ebenezer Annang, said the organization deems it proper as a community development conscious NGO to lead the community stakeholders to know what is happening in terms of physical projects and interventions, “the challenges and how best we, as community partners can help achieve the mandate of the Assembly to the community”.
He noted that Central Government had always said it had given the Assemblies enough resources to improve social development outcomes, however, through their engagement and interactions with some of the contractors who undertake Assembly project, they observed that payments to projects executed take forever.
According to Mr. Annang, although these contractors eventually get paid, the delays in the payment make room for poor project execution and implementation which is always to the disadvantage of our communities
He, therefore, made a call on the government to create an escrow account at the district level for contracts awarded either at the central or district level to enable contractors to receive their payments on time.
“This would also reduce the travel time of having to chase their monies for projects executed. On our side as a community, the delays leading to shoddy works, abandonment of projects would be a thing of the past”. He stated.
The Development Planning Officer of Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly (AbcMA) Mr. Kwasi Adarkwa in his presentation mentioned that the Assembly inherited the 2018/2021 MTDP from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) just two years ago. He explained that the current development plan started in 2018 when Ablekuma Central was a sub-metro under Accra Municipal Assembly (AMA). The AbcmA took over the MTDP and adopted it in 2019 when it became a full municipality.
In spite of the fact that the Assembly took over from AMA just two years ago, he said it had been able to make major strides in the area of sanitation by signing up various households in the AbcMA to waste contractors who collect waste from homes timeously.
Again, he stated that, the Municipal Assembly had also drenched most of the major drains in the municipality which posed serious health threats to the citizens, and managed to evacuate huge waste that had been sitting for a long time in lorry parks and other public places in the municipality.
Also, the assembly embarked on educational campaigns in over 3,000 schools to educate the students on sanitary practices whilst over 5,000 food vendors have been screened to ensure that they do not transmit diseases to the general public.
He again noted that the Assembly has assisted about 3,000 households in building their own toilets by subsiding the total cost.
Mr. Adarkwa bemoaned the logistical and human challenges the assembly was facing stating that presently the Assembly does not have a roads engineer to take care of the inner road infrastructure needs of the constituency.
He also cited the non-availability of lands to embark on developmental projects
A representative from the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD), Mr. Paul Osei Kuffour, on his part lauded OCOF for their initiative of bringing stakeholders together to review executed projects of the assembly find out their challenges, and make input into the next development cycle.
“Such engagements provide great feedback to the assembly which helps in improving the services rendered to the community when planning developmental projects”. He said.
He called on other communities to emulate OCOF’s initiative adding it was a recipe for accelerated development and also goes a long way to strengthen the bond between communities and their assemblies.
Contributing to the non-availability of lands to the Assembly for developmental projects, one of the participants Mr. Joseph Annang, a former Budgeting analyst intimated that, unlike the rural areas where lands were readily available to be given freely by chiefs, the Assembly should be ready to buy lands just like any private person for their developmental agenda.