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SESSIONAL ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HON. ASARE DANSO, THE DISTRICT CHIEF EXECUTIVE FOR THE BIRIM SOUTH DISTRICT ASSEMBLY ON THE OCASSION OF THE SECOND ORDINARY (2ND) MEETING OF THE (3RD) SESSION OF THE SECOND (2ND) ASSEMBLY HELD ON THURSDAY 30TH JUNE, 2022 AT THE ASSEMBLY’S CONFERENCE HALL, AKIM SWEDRU. Hon. Presiding Member, Hon. Assembly Members, The District Co-ordinating Director, Commanders of the various Security Agencies, Heads of Departments/Units/Institutions, The Media, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel highly esteemed to stand once again before this august House pursuant to Part 1, Section 28, Sub-section 1 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) to address the general House on this occasion of our Second (2nd) Ordinary Meeting of the Third (3rd) Session of the Second (2nd) Assembly of the Birim South District Assembly. Let me therefore take the opportunity to warmly welcome all of you and in so doing express our profound gratitude to Almighty God for granting us life and travelling mercies to enable us come together for today’s Session. Hon. Presiding Member, a lot of development have taken place with regards to performance of the Assembly since our last meeting held on 31st March, 2022. I will therefore give account of the state of the district in consonance with the tradition and practices of Assemblies. SECURITY: Hon. Presiding Member, I am pleased to report that the district has been relatively peaceful and calm as members of the general public are able to freely move to carry out their daily activities without any hindrance. The only source of security concern in the district has always been chieftaincy disputes particularly in Akim Swedru which sometimes has a notoriety of impairing development. Let me however assure the good people of the district that as Chairman of the District Security Council (DISEC), we will swiftly and decisively deal with any act that could potentially disturb the general peace and security of the district. I wish to further assure our hard working Security Agencies of the Assembly’s unflinching support to maintain law and order in the district. FINANCE: Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly in its 2022 Composite Budget approved to collect a total of Four Hundred and Sixty Thousand, Nine Hundred and Nineteen Cedis (GH₵460,919.00) from internal sources of revenue by the end of the year. Actual IGF collected as at the end of May was One Hundred and Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Fourteen Cedis (GH₵106,214.00) representing 23.04% of the annual revenue target. Hon. Presiding Member, it is indicative from the above that our IGF collection is very low and so there is therefore the need to redouble our efforts in order to meet our revenue target for the fiscal year. I therefore implore the august House to assist us monitor the operations of the Revenue Collectors. Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly has received the fourth quarter allocation of the 2021 District Assemblies’ Common Fund, totaling Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand and Ninety-Seven Cedis, Eighty-Eight Pesewas (GH₵359, 097.88). The fund is being expended on physical projects and non-physical programmes of the Assembly. Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly has also received our share of the 2020 DACF-RFG funds totaling One Million, One Hundred and Thirty-Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty-Four Ghana Cedis (GH₵1,136,224.00). Let me hasten to add that the amount would be expended on the following projects; 2-Unit KG Block with Ancillary facilities at Akim Apoli Drilling of 7No. Mechanized Boreholes at some selected communities Drilling of 1No. Fire Hydrant at Akim Swedru Extension of electricity to some selected areas Reshaping of 25.9km of the under-listed roads; Sabentua – Adenkyensu Brepro Junction – Kroboase – Yaw Sawuro Ofosukrom – Ofosukrom Junction Akotekrom – Mensakrom – Achiasehene Akuraa And other deplorable roads Hon. Presiding Member, permit me to add that the Hon. Assembly Members who will be benefiting from the drilling of the mechanized Boreholes would be contacted for suitable places for citing in your Electoral Areas. AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS OF THE ASSEMBLY: Hon. Presiding Member, as part of the annual traditions of public institutions in Ghana, the Assembly was recently audited for the 2021 fiscal year. Management has responded to the Management Letter issued by the External Auditors within 30days as stipulated by law and has accordingly taken necessary actions on all the audit observations raised. I am happy to inform the House that, the External Auditors were satisfied with the performance of the Assembly and I am very hopeful that management would not renege on its performance. I am also with strong conviction that we will not have any infraction in the soon to be published 2021 Auditor-General’s Report. Again, I am confident that when we continue on this good stride, it would be extremely difficult to slip from meeting one of the compliance indicators of the DPAT Assessment. In addition, Hon. Presiding Member, the District Audit Committee (DAC) for which you are member was inaugurated on Monday 13th June, 2022 at Koforidua in compliance with the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) following the expiration of the tenure of the former committee. Other members of the committee are; Mr. Richard Antwi – Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana, Chairman Mr. Philemon Safo – Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana Mr. Kwaku Nkrumah – Rep. of Internal Audit Agency Hon. Andrews Opoku – F&A Chairman, District Assembly’s Rep. Mr. Ofori Nuamah – Deputy Director, Secretary. On behalf of the House, I want to seize the opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment and further wish to assure you of management’s support and co-operation in the discharge of your mandate. INAUGURATION OF THE PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE (PRCC) Hon. Presiding Member, for the first time in the history of this district, the Public Relations and Complaints Committee (PRCC) in which you chair was inaugurated on Friday 24th June, 2022. The committee is one of the most important committees of the Assembly that serves as the interface between the Assembly and the general public. The committee is vested with a lot of powers as prescribed in Section 27, Sub-section 4 (a-c) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936). It is mandated to educate the general public on the activities of the Assembly. Again, it also investigates complaints made against the Hon. Assembly Members, the District Chief Executive and Staff of the Assembly in the discharge of our statutory duties. Hon. Presiding Member, I want to once again assure you of management’s support in ensuring the functionality of this important committee of the Assembly. OPERATIONALIZATION OF THE AREA COUNCILS: Hon. Presiding Member, I am pleased to inform the House that the Assembly organized a ceremony on 21st April, 2022 to swear in the Unit Committee Members and also inaugurated the Akim Aduasa Area Council at the Assembly’s Conference Hall. The Fifteen (15) Members of the Council were elected and sworn into office for one year tenure as prescribed by L.I. 1967. Management has rolled out an elaborate road map to ensure that the two Sub-structures are resourced and functional. As I speak, procurement processes have started for the purchase of Forty-Two (42) chairs, two office desks for the Councils. Management has also paid an amount of GH₵1,500.00 being electricity bill of the mechanized Borehole at Asramase accumulated during the COVID-19 period in which the citizens enjoyed free access to water. The Assembly has also paid One year rent advance for the office of the Akim Swedru Area Council. Management has also concluded discussions on the revenue items to be ceded to the Area Councils for collection. Hon. Presiding Member, these are all relics of management’s efforts and willingness to ensure the smooth take off of the Area Councils. I wish to assure the House to use my good office as the District Chief Executive to support the Sub-structures with the necessary resources to make them operational. HEALTH: Hon. Presiding Member, It is worrying to inform the House that the fight against the spread of the novel COVID-19 is far from over as there has been reported cases of surge in infections per available statistics. To curtail further community spread of the virus in the district, require that we maintain strict self-discipline and continue to practice prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygienic protocols that have already been announced by the government as His Excellency the President has been re-echoing, ‘our survival is in our own hands’. This I strongly belief, will forestall possible outbreak of a third wave of the disease in the district. Hon. Presiding Member, the Ghana Health Service as part of efforts to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination organized 5-Day National Immunization Day (NID) from 25th to 29th June, 2022 across the whole country. The target group for this important program included the pregnant women, persons aged from 15 years and above and the administration of booster dose for persons fully vaccinated within at least three months after the last dose. The exercise, Hon. Presiding Member was carried out through house-to-house, mobile and static teams in all the various communities in the district in which over 5,000 people were vaccinated against the disease. The COVID-19 vaccination would be a continuous exercise and I therefore urge Hon. Assembly Members and all stakeholders to encourage your constituents to participate in the exercise when the vaccination team visits your areas. EDUCATION: Hon. Presiding Member, I am happy to report that the Assembly has been chosen to benefit from the first phase for the construction of a Technical & Vocational Education and Training School at Akim Awisa under the “State of the Art Technical and Vocational Centers of Excellence in Ghana” which is aimed at equipping the youth with entrepreneurial skills in the district. His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic on 7th June, 2022 broke the grounds for work to commence on the 32 TVET Centres at Abrankese in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region. Clearing of site has been completed and work is expected to commence soon. Hon. Presiding Member, the project is expected to be completed in the next 24 months. The House would be apprised of the subsequent development. Hon. Presiding Member, permit me to thank the Akim Awisa Traditional Council for paying the compensation to all the farmers who had their crops on the land earmarked for the project. This is the kind of support we expect from our traditional leaders and it is indeed worth emulating. AGRICULTURE: Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly places high premium on boosting agriculture in district since it is the mainstay of our local economy. Hon. Presiding Member, during the period under review, the Assembly received a total of Forty-One Thousand (41,000) being the first consignment of Oil Palm Seedlings from the Mineral’s Commission of Ghana which have been distributed to farmers in the district free of charge. The facility is part of Government’s effort to provide alternative livelihood for citizens in mining areas particularly the youth to discourage them from engaging in the illegal mining (Galamsey) in the district. The Assembly is expecting the second consignment from the Commission and Hon. Assembly Members will accordingly be informed when we take delivery of the Oil Palm seedlings. Hon. Presiding Member, the infestation of the fall army worm in the district is far from over despite the significant gains made. The disease has been identified to be very active especially during the rainy season. I wish to use the occasion to urge Hon. Assembly Members to also encourage your electorates to visit the District Directorate of Agriculture for the chemicals to combat the Fall Army Worm and also be watchful and report any signs of infestation to our Field Officers at the various operational areas for immediate redress. DISTRIBUTION OF MOTORBIKES BY NALAG: Hon. Presiding Member, in my last Sessional Address to the general House, I indicated that management was working assiduously behind closed doors to get Hon. Members their Motorbikes to facilitate your operations in your Electoral Areas. I am happy to inform the House that the Assembly has distributed the Seventeen (17) motorbikes procured by government to all Hon. Assembly Members for their official use and I believe all of you have received your motorbikes. Let me however admonish you to always put on your helmets when riding to avoid fatal accidents. SUPPORT TO THE VULNERABLE IN THE DISTRICT: Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly continues to carry out Government’s policies and social intervention programs which are intended to improve the wellbeing of the people especially the most vulnerable in the district. Hon. Presiding Member, as you are aware, the Disability Fund which is 3% of the Assembly’s share of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund is one of the social intervention programme of government for the vulnerable and marginalized persons in our society. In this connection, the Assembly has commenced procurement processes for the purchase of items including deep freezers, sewing machines, hair dryers, pepper grinding machines and cocoa spraying machines following the recommendation by the Fund Management Committee to be distributed to Persons with Disability in the district. Again, management will drill a mechanized Borehole for the Association of Persons with Disability in the district to generate revenue for them when they sell the water. Hon. Presiding Member, a total number of Six Hundred and Nineteen (619) Households in Twenty-Three (23) communities were paid a total amount of Ninety-Nine Thousand, Two Hundred and Twelve Ghana Cedis (GH₵99,212.00) under the 75th and 76th cycles of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme in the district. STREET NAMING AND PROPERTY ADDRESS SYSTEM: Hon. Presiding Member, the government has directed the naming of all streets in the country as part of the digitization agenda. For now, the Assembly will concentrate on the district capital, Akim Swedru for the exercise and later extend it to the other towns in course of the year. Hon. Presiding Member, a drone was flown on Friday 24th June, 2022 for orthophotos of all streets and properties to be digitized. Ground truthing will be undertaken to verify all the orthophotos. The Hon. Assembly Members and the traditional authorities will be consulted in respect of the names for the various streets. I wish to also bring to the notice of the august House to let the Assembly know if there are challenges with the embossment of properties or the digital address for remedial action since it is different from the street naming exercise. LOCAL ECEONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (LED): Hon. Presiding Member, the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGD&RD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) have decided to promote development of local economy. This is in line with development plans prepared by MMDAs. This initiative is aimed at using local resources and skills to promote economic growth through the creation of jobs. The Assembly has submitted a proposal on three products namely; rice, oil palm, poultry and livestock to the MLGD&RD for consideration. The house will be apprised of subsequent development. EDUCATION AND SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME ON BOSOME FM, 89.1: Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly in collaboration with management of Bosome fm has instituted a programme dubbed ‘’Time with the Assembly” which is aired live on every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. Some heads of departments have been appearing on the show to educate the public on some of the activities of the Assembly. Indeed, we have been receiving a lot of positive feedbacks for the programme and I entreat all of us to tune in to listen to the programme. INFRASTRUCTURAL PROJECTS: Hon. Presiding Member, the Assembly continues to provide the needed infrastructural projects for the people in the district. The following developmental projects are being undertaken by the Assembly. The table below shows the projects, their funding sources and status of implementation as at June, 2022; S/N Project Location Funding Source Status/Stage Percentage completion 1.0 Construction of 1No. 10 Unit Lockable Stores Akim Aduasa DACF-RFG Completed and handed over but yet to be metered 100% 2. Completion of DCD Bungalow Akim Swedru DACF Gabel stage but will be repackaged for continuation 35% 3. Completion of DCE Bungalow Akim Swedru DACF Yet to be advertised for continuation 75% 4. Drilling of 2No. Mechanized Borehole Akim Swedru DACF Completed but yet to be metered 100% 5. Rehabilitation of 12-Unit Water Closet and 6-Unit Bathhouse Akim Swedru DACF Will be repackaged for continuation 40% 6. Drilling and mechanization of 6No. Borehole with Reinforced water tank support Apoli, AKISSS, Atuntumirem, Akim Swedru DACF-RFG Completed but yet to be metered 100% 7. Construction of 1No. single court complex Akim Swedru DACF 78% 8. Construction of 1No. Judicial Service Bungalow Akim Swedru DACF 98% 9. Construction of a district hospital Akim Swedru Central government Sub-structure works on-going 20% CONSTRUCTION OF ROAD: Hon. Presiding Member, the condition of most of our roads in the district is deplorable. I am happy to inform the House that the 27.5 km stretch of roads from Swedru Wesley Street (Nana Hemaa’s Junction) – Aduasa – Apoli Ningo have been awarded to four (4) contractors and it will be constructed in phases. Hon. Presiding Member, the first stretch of 2.5km from Swedru (Wesley Street) to the New Court Junction will be constructed by Memphis Metropolitan Company Limited. The second stretch of 5km from the New Court to Ofosukrom Junction has been awarded to Dartwood Construction Company Limited. Again, the 5km stretch from Ofosukrom Junction to Sabaa Junction has been awarded to Eastlight Construction Company Limited whiles the remaining 15km from Sabaa Junction to Apoli Ningo is also to be constructed by Meshywood Construction Company Limited. Hon. Presiding Member, I am happy to inform you that the contractors have already paid a courtesy call on the Aduasahene, Osabarima Abrokwa Gyampim IV and work is expected to commence in three weeks’ time to bring the needed relief to our people. PRESENTATION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE’S REPORT: Hon. Presiding Member, the Executive Committee (EXECO) met on Thursday 23rd June, 2022 to discuss and consider the recommendations made by the various Sub-Committees of the Executive Committee. I therefore crave your kind indulgence to present the report of the Executive Committee (EXECO) to the august House for discussion and ratification pursuant to Part 11, Section (49) of the Model Standing Orders. That, the Assembly should start with the processes and documentations for all occupants of the Assembly’s stores That, the Assembly should constitute a committee to oversee the allocation of the 10-Unit lockable stores at Akim Aduasa to applicants. That, the Assembly should assist the District Education Directorate with funds to organize mock exams for the final year JHS students in the district. That, the Assembly should support with 20 bags of cement to construct a temporal structure for Akim Apoli Kindergarten School. That, the Assembly should educate and sensitize the general public on the need for registering births and deaths in the district. That, the Assembly should organize Sanitation Day on quarterly basis to ensure a clean district. That, the Assembly should construct Kindergarten Block at Apoli to replace the one that has been demolished. That, the Assembly should write to Ghana COCOBOD for the construction of cocoa depot at Akim Swedru. That, the Assembly should procure street bulbs and also repair dysfunctional ones to improve visibility at night. That, the Assembly should construct a garage for Assembly’s vehicles. That, the Assembly should construct staff quarters. That, the Assembly should task the Police to monitor the conveyance of lumber from the district to minimize the risk of accidents. That, the Assembly should ensure that all the community information centers in the district comply with the guidelines governing their operations. That, the Assembly should write to the fuel stations in the district to involve the Fire Service when dispensing fuel to avert fire outbreak. Hon. Presiding Member, I wish to urge Hon. Assembly Members to rise above partisan and personal considerations to dispassionately discuss my Sessional Address so that vital decisions could be made in our collective efforts to develop the district. Thank you for your attention and may God Bless Us All.!!!