Local Govt Ministry begins assessment of COVID-19 impact on govt policies, programmes

Local Govt Ministry begins assessment of COVID-19 impact on govt policies, programmes

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has commenced the assessment and monitoring of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on government policies and programmes, particularly the various agricultural and health initiatives and interventions in the districts.

Its objective is to determine the readiness of the leadership of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) country-wide in marshalling their forces to contain the virus in their areas and devise effective strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who announced this during the first leg of his assessment and monitoring tour of some MMDAs in the Ashanti, Ahafo and Northern regions last week, acknowledged the possible negative impact of COVID-19 on major government initiatives and interventions.

“The effects of COVID-19,” he noted, “are obvious” but pointed out that “as leaders and a nation, we must not allow the virus to derail our developmental efforts especially the various initiatives and interventions carefully crafted by the government to improve the lot of the people”.

“COVID-19 or no COVID-19, life must go on. So must Local governance, in particular, also go on to provide the people with the necessary direction towards the application of the safety protocols and other measures aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic,” Mr Ntim stated.

The Deputy Minister emphasized that the government’s current priority attention was on how to effectively protect the citizens against the virus, mindful of the fact that “the people, constituting the nation’s most important asset and resource, are also the ultimate beneficiaries of its development policies and programmes”.

 Highlighting President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a rapid total national development, he explained that the various agricultural interventions hyping the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) and Modernisation of Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) as major programmes were specially engineered by Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture to boost agricultural production.

They were carefully designed to take expression at the district level where the bulk of the country’s population live with the goal of economically empowering them, promoting the export of agricultural produce and providing the raw material base of the One District, One Factory programme.

The Ministry, under the able leadership of Hajia Alima Mahama, he said, recognized the critical role of local government in the successful implementation of the programmes and was therefore poised to ensure that the MMDAs live up to the task.

Criticising the tendency of some MMDAs to expend their resources on the execution of mainly physical development projects, the Deputy Minister asked them “not to use all their funds on the provision of toilets and classrooms.”

“The MMDAs need to invest in other areas that will help to economically empower the people and make them financially-inclusive so as to enable them to pay levies and taxes with ease,” he advised.

The Deputy Minister indicated that while most of the MMDAs are doing very well in providing leadership in the area of rural economic development, others are not and advised that the nonchalant attitude of some MMDAs must give way to sound reasoning and judgment.

“The Akufo-Addo administration is not the business as usual type. It’s a serious government engaged in serious business and therefore won’t countenance any feet-dragging”, Mr Ntim cautioned.

Source: Ghanaian Times

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