The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has put in place an institutional framework that will encourage the diversification of the rural economy, support community-driven initiatives, small scale rural infrastructure, market accessibility, employment and income generation for the rural poor.
The Ministry will use the rural development week celebration as a platform to educate the public to understand the meaning of rural development and the roles of citizens in the development of their communities. This was disclosed by the sector Minister, Mr Samuel Ampofo, at the Meet-the Press series in Accra, yesterday.
According to him, plans are advanced to set up; a rural and urban development unit in the Ministry which will formulate, co-ordinate and monitor both the rural and urban activities with the view of improving the quality of life citizenry, especially those in these areas.
Touching on Food Security and Environment Facility (FSEF), the Minister explained that the Government of Ghana and Canada signed CDN$14,300,000 contribution agreement for the purpose of funding FSCF in the three northern regions through Private, Sub-project Implementing Partner Organisations.
He said the overall objectives of Northern Poverty Reduction Programme is to improve the living conditions of poor rural communities with emphasis on women and vulnerable groups in these regions through deepening and broadening of rural development services, community and individual self-help capacity.
Mr. Ampofo noted that the School Feeding Programme, under his Ministry has increased school enrolments, attendance, retention and boost food production in the country, apart from reducing hunger and malnutrition among school children.
Ministry will provide support to the private sector through Public Private Partnership arrangements to address the waste treatment and disposal deficiencies. He explained that these will be done through the development of compost and recycling facilities as well as decentralised anaerobic digesters in the country.
In this vein, nine hundred tones of solid waste/ day capacity compost and recycling plant at the Adjin-Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region have been developed. It is believed that the facility will handle 50 per cent of the waste produced in the region. The minister informed the gathering that the initiative will be replicated in other parts of the region and the whole country.
Talking about the District Assembles Common Fund (DACF) he said, the administrator has since its inception, disbursed a total of GH¢ 1,365,157,839 to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). This year, a total disbursement of GHC510, 931,580 have been allocated to the assemblies.
He explained that by the figure, the arrears for 2009, 2010 and the first and second quarters of this year have all been paid. Furthermore, the minister announced that a syndicate of banks led by National Investment Bank have agreed to pre-finance the DACF obligations to MMDAs. This means the issue of arrears will be a thing of the past.
He said the DACF has also transferred funds to 140 MMDAs in respect of 2010 fiscal year contributions amounting to GHC6.5m, under the people with disability fund and the remaining 30 MMDAs are yet to submit their bank details to access their share of the fund.
At the function, the Minister said Government has created 42 new districts while some existing ones have been elevated to municipal status.
Mr Ampofo pledged that his Ministry will continue to formulate and pursue policies to deepen the decentralised administration, good governance in all district assemblies.