By Christian Kpesese
The role of energy in the socio-economic development of the nation cannot be overemphasized, hence the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) in the Greater Accra Region is leaving no stone un-turn on the necessity of this crucial elements in its developmental efforts. The assembly is thus heavily investing its resources in energy related issues.
The compost plant currently under construction at Nungua is one such demonstration of the assembly`s commitment to invest in energy generation to supplement the national grid. LEKMA has also improved the lighting system of the municipality through the procurement of street lights that has contributed towards crime fighting.
Indeed the objective of the decentralization process is to deepen governance at the local level where the people being governed are involved in the decision making and governance process in order to make meaningful contributions towards addressing the specific needs of their communities.
Local governance has thus become inevitable tool for the economic and socio-cultural development of the nation.
The Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) is one such clear example of a decentralized system that is making tremendous progress as a result of the local governance process. The assembly is only five years old and has since its creation in November, 2007 and subsequent inauguration on 28th February, 2008 under the Legislative Instrument (LI) 1865 made some outstanding progress. It is the highest revenue generator in the Greater Accra Region after the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) respectively. LEKMA is arguably one of the fastest growing and finest examples of self sustaining new assemblies in the country.
Leadership is said to be the ability to mobilize people and influence them towards achieving set goals. This seems true in the case of LEKMA. The management and staff of the assembly under the leadership of Hon Daniel Amartey Mensah have been able to impact positively over the residents of the municipality who understands the visions and objectives of the assembly and have achieved a lot for themselves within a matter of five years.
LEKMA?s achievements can be found in the areas of education, quality and affordable health care, environmental protection and sanitation, and the construction of roads and other infrastructure. It also includes the acquisition of an ultra modern assembly Office Complex, the construction of several classroom blocks and dormitories for schools within the municipality, the construction of culverts and bridges that has lead to improved drainage system and the building of a two storey 40-seater WC toilet facility for Nungua and its environs. The rest are the continuous feeding of all Public school children within its catchment areas under the school feeding programme, the significant improvement of road network within the municipality the reconstruction of some markets.
The assembly has also distributed Laptops to schools under the Better Ghana Agenda, built a polyclinic at Nungua and constructed a water project for the Teshie Sangonaa area. The assembly also supported Fisher folks with outboard motors and a cash of GHC 1000.00 each to expand their businesses.
Other gains by LEKMA include the donation of a fire tender for the Fire Service and vehicles to the Kpeshie Divisional Police. The assembly has also set up a Municipal Security Fund aimed at supporting the security services in maintaining law and order.
Interestingly, these strides were not made by the assembly on a silver platter nor was it by the dependence on central government for its share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to initiate and execute projects. The assembly was determined to take its own destiny into its own hands hence it ventured into innovative and creative initiatives that were aimed at yielding income.
About 90% of LEKMA?s achievements within this short period were done through the total dependence on its own Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to execute these noble and people centered projects.
Effective leadership and prudent management of the resources have also enabled the assembly to constantly qualify as one of only three assemblies in the region for the HIPC District Development Facility (DDF) from central government to support its development activities.
A number of other reasons have contributed to the gains made by LEKMA.
According to the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of LEKMA, Hon Daniel Amartey Mensah, the assembly has initiated several developmental strategies and proposals that it sent to the people within the municipality. This he noted contributed to convincing residents of the area to make their own informed and voluntary decisions to pay their due towards the building of the assembly.
According to him, the assembly holds constant Town Hall Meetings with residents to discuss the peculiar and immediate needs of the community. This frequent community engagement has enabled the assembly to explain its policies and programmes to residents who intern make very useful and significant contributions to aid the assembly?s rapid development over the period. Through the initiation of the ?Better Ghana at Your Doorstep?? project, the assembly has met with residents on a house to house basis to explain its policies and programmes and explained reasons why the residents should support those ideas and programmes. This method of direct engagement has significantly helped in the development of the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly.
LEKMA, through its internal revenue mobilization exercises, generated about GHC3 million in 2012. Property owners within the municipality on their own accord willingly walk into the assembly?s offices to pay their property rates because they value the contribution of their dues towards the development efforts of the assembly.
Hon Daniel Amartey Mensah said, his outfit would not rest on its ores but will continue to work hard through better and improved monitoring and evaluation system to block the loop holes and bottlenecks associated with revenue collection. The assembly has thus started employing the services of ICT in its revenue generation and collection methods which it believes would improve upon the revenue mobilization system.
Evidence show that LEKMA takes immediate punitive measures against its officials who engage in any fraudulent activity which can hinder is development. As a result, the assembly has recently interdicted some 26 revenue collectors who embezzled funds to serve as a deterrent to others.
Despite the many challenges of boundary disputes, legal battles and leakages in revenue collection, the assembly remains resolute and unperturbed. The MCE, Hon Amartey says that the ultimate focus his and that of the assembly is to ensure improved standards of living for the constituents for a bright and secure future.
The vision of LEKMA is to become an economically vibrant, visually appealing and environmentally sound municipality populated by disciplined and law abiding residents with improved livelihoods and easy access to socioeconomic infrastructure.
Hon. Daniel Amartey Mensah, MCE-LEKMA