Mr. Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has bemoaned funding challenges as some of the constraints affecting the newly-created districts resulting in renting private apartments for official accommodation.

He said renting of private properties comes at a cost to the nation, and gave the assurance that very soon construction work would begin in all the newly-created districts.

Opong-Fosu said these in Tamale during a meeting with various heads of departments and DCEs as part of his three-day tour of the Northern Region.

He said in 2012, the Ministry released GH?100,000 to each of the 46-newly created districts for the purchase of equipment as part of the 42 million promised by government, stressing that the Ministry was currently finalizing arrangements for the award of contracts to construct new office accommodation for the Districts Assemblies.

He said due to funding challenges, the projects had not taken effect as promised, explaining that some of the new district that were created in 2003 and 2007 were also being accommodated in rented premises.

Mr. Opong-Fosu said, the Ministry, as part of fulfilling its developmental goals, allocated various sums of money to some MMDAs, and mentioned the District Development Facility (DDF) and the Urban Development Grant (UDG), as one of the projects where GH?36,806,651 had been released to all the ten regions with the Northern Region receiving GH?54, 404,783.20.

He said government was implementing a five-year project dubbed, the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, at the cost of 89.1 million dollars, funded by the World Bank, where it intends to target spending on social and economic projects to improve the standards of 49 MMDAs.

Under the school feeding programme, the Minister said, a total of 1,739,352 pupils were benefiting from 4,952 schools, and that the feeding grants had been increased from forty pesewas to fifty pesewas per child, noting that the National School Feeding Policy was being developed to address challenges of the policy.

Mr. Opong-Fosu blamed the Regional Coordinating Councils for failing to perform their expected roles, adding that ?government has secured one million Euros to support the ten RCCs to deliver positively.?

Mr. Bede Ziedeng, Northern Regional Minister, said the region recently completed the appointment and endorsement of all District Chief Executives (DCEs) in the region with a 100% success, to ensure the smooth take-off of development programmes

He said decentralization was developing positively across the country in compliance to the laid down legal processes to position the Assemblies to perform efficiently. GNA

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