The Upper West Regional Minister, Hon. Alhaji Sulemana on Tuesday 28th November 2018 directed all assemblies in the region to submit their yearly reports to the Upper West Regional Coordinating council by 7th December. This directive was given at the Regional Coordinating Council a meeting which involved the assemblies, departmental heads and other stakeholders.
Hon Alhassan Sulemana used the occasion to thank Regional House of Chiefs and other stakeholders for their commitment towards the realization of autonomy of Wa campus of the University for Development Studies. According to him, the President of the Republic of Ghana on 10th November 2018 announced that Cabinet had granted approval for the autonomy of the Wa campus of the UDS awaiting Parliamentary approval.
He also acknowledged the tremendous contributions of REGSEC, Regional Heads of Department and development partners such as UNICEF, CIDA, USAID, the Northern Ghana Governance Authority, KOICA, JICA, GIZ, the Civil Society Organizations, and the Media among others in the governance of the Region. He reiterated that the management of the region does not lie solely in the hands of the Regional Minister and the central administration. “We have all been positioned with our various mandate to contribute to the development of the region. It is only with concerted effort that we can succeed” he added.
He indicated that more than fifty percent of our people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. This simply means that when the farmer is better off, then living conditions would have improved. He said government is committed to improving the agricultural sector and that massive injection of funds into the sector in the past years has seen increased in land sizes for cultivation this year. He added that the Planting for Food and Jobs Program was on course and by next year government will introduce agricultural machineries to facilitate the mechanization of the sector.
Touching on decentralization, he indicated that the effectiveness of the MMDAs as planning and semi-autonomous authorities depends largely on their ability to generate resources locally. “What pertains currently is that the MMDAs depends so much on central government and other external transfers to function.” He added. He stressed that the internally generated funds were inadequate to be used for any developmental activities, not even enough for their day to day administrative functions. He lamented that reports from the RCC monitoring team indicate that the IGFs were below Ten Percent of the total funds received by the Municipal and District Assemblies which is quite worrisome.
According to him, the non- functionality of the various towns/Area council and Unit Committee have an effect on revenue mobilization. He said this lower level structures have a significant role to play in the revenue and other resource mobilization drive and other functions of the assembly. He therefore tasked all MMDCEs to ensure that these structures are properly constituted, well equipped and resourced to help the assemblies perform their mandate.
Touching on education, the Hon. Regional Minister indicated that education is the bedrock of development and that there can be no sustainable human development without quality, inclusive and equitable education. He said the President’s vision to build Ghana beyond Aid can be achieved through providing the future generation of this country access to quality secondary education.
“These are some of the indicators that informed the bold and courageous implementation of the Free SHS programme ahead of most of our other flagship programs” he added.
Speaking on issues on sanitation, he said insanitary practices such as choked gutters, indiscriminate disposal of waste, Open Defecation sometimes due to lack of household toilets, especially in our urban areas still stares us in the face. He indicated that Sanitation, as often stated is shared, responsibility “What are we as stakeholders doing to reverse this negative attitude? he quizzed. He said assemblies must invoke the powers bestowed on them to pass and implement sanitation bye laws.
Hon. Alhassan Sulemana, in response to some comments by the Regional Director of Education on the falling standards of education in the Region, hinted his desires to quickly call on UNICEF to intervene on the mater. “We will discuss our issues of education challenges with UNICEF and try to impress upon them to extend their support to all districts in the region,” he noted.
He also announced that stakeholders would be consulted in collaboration with the Regional House of Chiefs and MMDCEs to look into reducing, to the barest minimum issues of land and chieftaincy disputes and other conflicts related issues.
Hon. Sulemana Alhassan called on the Forestry Commission to fight rosewood salvaging in the region. He noted that the menace was a detriment to the future generations and should be fiercely dealt with.
“We want to say that, you need to go the extra mile to support the region. We are talking about whatever inheritance we live for generations yet unborn so we would need your expertise” he noted.