As Solution to Corruption
By Alfred K Dogbey
The Akatsi-North District Assembly in the Volta Region, is going into record as the first district to established Public Account Committee (PAC), to periodically scrutinize audit reports and other expenditures of the assembly, every quarter of the year.
The programme to be christened, District Public Account Forum is expected to be officially launched in April.
The initiative is to allow chiefs, queen mothers, the clergy, representative of civil society groups, political activists, school prefects, traditional leaders and other identifiable groups in the district to ascertain how their resources, especially their taxes are being used to improve their lives.
District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, James Gunu, explained to The Herald that the purpose is to ensure transparency and accountability to the people of area.
Mr. Gunu, who is a corporate governance professional, believes that the initiative would help the public to build confidence in the management of the assembly and would also serve as a platform to clear doubts by asking questions.
“We want to encourage even market women to ask questions about how taxes collected from them are been used”, Mr. Gunu told The Herald in an exclusive interview in his office at Ave-Dakpa in the Volta Region.
He noted that the open-door policy the assembly is embarking upon, would limit and reduce the high demands and expectations of the people who think there was so much money at the assembly.
Discussions on the initiative, is currently at a Committee Level and is expected to be approved during the General Assembly Session of the assembly members in March.
Already, this paper gathered that proposals have been warmly endorsed by the Member of Parliament (MP) and ex- DCE for Akatsi, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, following consultations from stakeholders, as well as Opinion Leaders.
Both the MP and the Opinion Leaders, have lauded the idea and given it their fullest backing.
Prior to this development, the DCE had set up Suggestion Box at the electoral areas under the assembly and also at the premises of the Assembly to solicit information from the public and involve them in the running of the local government.
Meanwhile, the Akatsi-North District, which is part of the newly created districts in 2012 has embarked on mass infrastructure developments, The Herald has learnt.
The projects, range from construction of classroom blocks, health centres, quarters for assembly staff, construction of bore holes, building Agric departments among others.
This paper learnt the district can now boast of seventy bore holes, including, twenty broken down ones which have been repaired.
The Herald also witnessed the construction of classroom blocks for schools, warehouses for market women, as well as residential quarters for assembly
staff. All these were at the advance stage of completion.
On agriculture, the district has rehabilitated an old health centre at Ave-Afiadenyigba to be used as an office for the Department of Food and Agriculture (D.A.D.U).
The Assembly is also in discussion with the National Irrigation Development Authority (NIDA) to revamp the Ave-Afiadenyigba Irrigation Dam.
An Area Council based commercial farming has also commenced with each Area Council being assisted through the Community Development Facility (CDF) money.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gunu said preparation and procurement processes are underway for permanent Assembly Office Complex to be built to relocate the assembly from the wooden structure which it currently occupies.