4 February 2013

Ghana: PPP Key to Local Gov Dev't - Oppong-Fosu

The Minister-designate for Local Government & Rural Development, Akwasi Opong-Fosu yesterday told the Appointments Committee of Parliament when he appeared before it for vetting that Public-Private Partnership is the answer to local government development in the country.

According to him, the suggestion by a cross section of the public to encourage the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to go into the open market to access government guaranteed loans to pursue various developmental projects at the assembly was misplaced priority.

He said once that was done, the responsibility would be on the government to bail the assemblies, once they default in repaying the loans.

"The issue of going to the capital market to raise government guaranteed loans for development is very controversial.

"In countries where the local government has gone to the capital market to raise loans, the responsibility is on the government to bail them out. So, I will not encourage that but rather Public-Private Partnership to develop the assemblies," he noted.

Mr. Oppong-Fosu made this observation in response to question posed by a member of the committee, Mr. Dominic Azumah, on whether he will encourage the MMDAs to go into the open market to access government guaranteed loans for development at the assemblies.

Commenting on the issue of lack of transparency in the recruitment of staff to the various MMDAs, Mr. Oppong-Fosu said such an argument was neither her no there. He said those who applied for jobs in the various MMDAs were shortlisted, interviewed and subsequently approved.

According to him, the process was very transparent and that those who were selected are yet to be posted to their respective assemblies to begin work.

He urged prospective applicants wanting to work at the assemblies to submit their applications for consideration when the exercise is opened again this year (2013). So far, the local government and rural development ministry have recruited 250 staff nationwide to support the programs of the MMDAs.

Responding to concerns raised by George Kyei-Baffour, a former NALAG president questioning the competence of the nominee on his new found role as assigned him by the President, Mr. Oppong-Kusi said he was competent for the job since he has served in that sector for a very long time.

According to him, he has played a key role in bringing together all the various groups at the assemblies to work for one common course.

"If Mr. Kyei-Baffour was following what was going on within the local service, his comments wouldn't have come on. I believe that if I want to mention the height of my career, the service will be the first," he lamented.

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