Our Community Focus (OCOF) a Community-led Development NGO in the Ablekuma Central Municipality (AbcMA) has organised a consultative stakeholder engagement meeting on accountable governance.
The meeting aimed at bringing community stakeholders together to hold the Assembly accountable on the existing 2018 to 2021 Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) development framework that expired in December and to actively participate in the next MTDP plan for 2022 to 2025 developmental agenda.
It was on the theme “Brainstorming on Ablekuma Central’s development; my participation my development.”
The Executive Director, OCOF, Mr Ebenezer Annang, said the Organisation deemed it proper as a community development conscious NGO to lead the community stakeholders to know what was 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 said Central Government had always said it had given the Assemblies enough resources to improve social development outcome, however, through their engagement and interactions with some of the contractors who undertook Assembly projects, they observed that payments to projects executed took forever.
Mr Annang, said although the contractors eventually got paid, the delays in the payment made room for poor project execution and implementation, which was always to the disadvantage of the communities.
He, therefore, called on the government to create an escrow account at the district level for contracts to address those challenges.
“This will also reduce the travel time of chasing their monies for projects executed. On our side as a community, the delays leading to shoddy works, abandonment of projects will be a thing of the past,” he stated.
Mr. Kwasi Adarkwa, Development Planning Officer, AbcMA, said 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 AMA and that AbcMA took over the MTDP and adopted it in 2019 when it became a full municipality.
“Even though the Assembly took over from AMA just two years ago, it has 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.”
Mr Adarkwa said the Assembly had also desilted major drains in the Municipality and collected huge wastes at 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 said the Assembly also assisted about 3,000 households in building their toilets by subsidizing the total cost.
Mr. Adarkwa said the Assembly did not have a roads engineer to take care of the inner road infrastructure needs of the Municipality and also lamented the non-availability of lands for developmental projects.
Mr. Paul Osei Kufour of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), lauded OCOF for the initiative and said, “Such engagements provide great feedback to the Assembly, which helps in improving the services rendered to the community when planning developmental projects.”
He called on other communities to emulate OCOF’s strategy to strengthen the bond between them and Assemblies.
Participants at the meeting included officers from the AbcMA, Assembly and Unit Committee Members – both past and current- the clergy, traditional authorities, and identifiable groups.