Ghana launches urban policy framework
President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday launched the National Urban Policy Framework and Action Plan with a call on the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to implement the street naming within 18 months.
The naming programme, he said, would not only make the cities accessible but would also enable government to increase the generation of revenue, through property rates among other programmes.
The National Urban Policy is to comprehensively intervene in the urban sector and to promote the sustainable development of Ghanaian cities and towns, which is all-inclusive in taking care of the needs of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
The policy would also cater for environmental concerns to be incorporated in all decision making in urban development in accordance with Ghana’s habitat agenda and to arrest the rising inequalities in socio-economic and spatial terms in the country.
Urbanization is associated with challenges such as weak urban economy, land use disorder, environmental deterioration, inadequate services, limited data and information and weak urban transportation among others, which the policy would seek to address in subsequent years.
President Mahama said the policy would also ensure that the major urban areas placed systems that would absorb the growing population in the next 20 years to avoid poor sanitation, congestion, diseases, poverty and poor water facilities.
He said while economies are increasing, there was the need to increase amenities as a result of the rapid rural-urban drift.
President Mahama said the current trend where over 53 per cent of Ghanaians are living in urban centres is suggestive that if proper infrastructure was not in place the consequences could be disastrous as poverty levels are growing faster in the urban centres in the last few years.
The President said the growing urban areas showed that Accra and other Metropolis could explode in population, which also placed pressure on the facilities and appealed toAssemblies to implement the policy to bring better services to all urban dwellers.
He urged them to hold durbars to review their performance and re-strategize for better performance in subsequent years.
Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, said the plan would create new growth points as counter magnets to fat growing cities such as Accra and Kumasi and promote accelerated growth of small and medium-sized towns, including district and regional capitals.
He said the framework would also promote local economic development and improve urban services and infrastructure to support economic development and advance industrial investments and production.
Mr Oppong-Fosu said the policy framework would also generate environmental awareness by increasing mass media public education programmes on sanitation in schools and public places and provide adequate equipment and operational funds to support waste management activities.
He said the policy would also strengthen urban governance by reviewing and strengthening the grassroot structures to work effectively to ensure efficient decentralization throughout the country.
Mr Julius Debrah, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, said four out of every 10 Ghanaians lived in urban areas an indication that such figures could rise faster in few years to come and therefore the launch of the policy would address challenges that would make the residents comfortable.
“We will make sure the programme is implemented to benefit all residents, irrespective of your geographical location or socio-economic background,” he said.