Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister on Monday inaugurated seven out of the 11 Sub-Metropolitan District Councils of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).
They were Ayawaso West and East, La, Ablekuma North, Central, South and Okaikoi Sub-Metropolitan District Councils.
Nii Ashietey explained that the Sub-Metro District Councils were legally constituted and being inaugurated as sub-structures to assist the Metropolitan Assemblies to perform their functions.
Functions of the Sub-Metro District Councils include being responsible for the day-to-day administration of their respective areas, assist persons authorised by the Assembly to collect revenue due it and build and maintain public places of convenience in their areas.
Nii Ashietey commended the AMA for the enormous work which though were very challenging, had managed to chalk some successes that resulted in the recognition of the City of Accra in the area of sanitation and environment management at the just ended UN climate change conference in South Africa.
He congratulated members of the various councils for accepting to serve their communities and society and urged them as actors in the decentralisation process to work as a team towards the achievement of a common objective.
“We cannot achieve the common goal if we do not build and work as a team with a common purpose,” he said.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister indicated that for any Sub-Metro District Council to function properly, the officers must be credible, committed, dedicated, hard working, loyal disciplined, trustworthy and team players.
However, he expressed worry about the numerous media publications of financial malfeasance in many assemblies, which had negatively affected their image.
Nii Ashietey challenged the new council members to work hard to redeem the image of the assemblies and expose all bad nuts.
He stressed that the developmental challenges of the metropolis required that the various assemblies mobilised adequate revenue from local sources to complement the efforts of central government in funding development projects such as basic schools, health centres, markets, drains, water and sanitation.
“Unfortunately, the prevailing trend reveals that almost all assemblies including the AMA rely mostly on the District Assembly Common Fund and other donors for greater part of their budgetary requirement to finance development programmes,” he said.
Nii Ashietey said this was because revenue generation from local sources consistently fell short of actual projections.
He said the metropolis abound in potential revenue sources that the assembly could take advantage of and urged them to explore new revenue areas, create more wealth and generate employment opportunities for the teeming youth.
Nii Ashietey urged the assemblies to set realistic targets and put in place strategies to help them achieve such targets.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister said currently, the assemblies were confronted with many challenges including lack of data on all revenue items, weak and old revenue collectors, under and over invoicing as well as carbon shifting and failure to pay revenue collected into their bank accounts daily and lack of innovation and initiative.
He appealed to the assemblies to ensure the judicious and prudent use of all monies that were collected.
Nii Ashietey mentioned persistent conflicts between and among key actors or stakeholders of district assemblies as one nagging problem as far as the roles and functions of each other were concerned, adding “There seem to be power struggle between the various actors which must stop.”
“It is not uncommon these days to hear that attempts are being made to pass a vote of no confidence on some Municipal and Metropolitan District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). This Strategy of vindictiveness and blackmail must stop since it will not help the decentralisation process,”he said.
Nii Ashietey advised that the adoption of a “Vote of no Confidence” against a Chief Executive by assemblies should be the last resort after all avenues for redress had been exhausted and that Standing Orders and the law be re-visited to critically to ensure that such an action became the last resort.
He noted that meaningful development could not take place in a social environment that was full of tension, conflict, hostility and divisiveness, all of which could be avoided by members, burying of their petty differences and thinking more about the larger community which they had been appointed and elected to serve.
Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, underscored the importance of the Sub-Metro District Councils to the success or failure of the assembly.
He therefore cautioned the members to desist from acts of indiscipline such as fighting to secure and operate public toilet and turning themselves into approving and issuing authorities for illegal structures.
Mr Vanderpuije said his office would be opened to members for consultations to ensure teamwork towards total development of the metropolis.