Hon Member, you are completely out of order -- [Laughter] -- That is her opinion. She is entitled to her opinion.
Yes, Hon Minister, please continue.
Hajia Mahama: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the House that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is very active. We have gone to districts and regions of this country working on the
Referendum. We have done a lot of work. We have met organised groups, civil society organisations, the House of Chiefs and we have met professional bodies. We have also met political parties in our various interactions. We went with National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and Information Services Department (ISD) to ensure that they do the public education.
Mr Speaker, those who understand the issue are those who are vociferous about it negatively. It is not a question of just understanding it, it is not a question of education; it is about building a consensus and it is about the country. We should not look at it as the NPP Government taking credit for itself or the NDC Administration getting credit for it. It is about jointly operating and doing something to benefit the country. So let us build consensus on this matter and move ahead.
Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as part of its governance role and development agenda, would ensure that our staff are in place; the office of the head of Local Government Service has continued to train and build capacity of staff. I recruited about 2,000 people in 2017. This year too, I have recruited over 2,000 people to ensure that our district assemblies have the requisite staff. They have been able to establish the Regional Coordinating Councils
(RCCs) for the six (6) regions that have been newly created. We have worked to ensure that they have their complementary staff to start their work.
Mr Speaker, they developed operational manuals for various departments and they would continue to provide excellent service for our districts to operate.
Mr Speaker, we have developed a Rural Development Policy. For several decades, Ghana did not have a Rural Development Policy. The Ministry has worked with stakeholders and we have in place a Rural Development Policy and we have established a Rural Development Unit in the Ministry. It implements the Ghana Productive Safety Net and Project. It works with the Community Development Department on alternative livelihood programmes. We focus on districts that were devastated with illegal mining.
We have provided training for about 500 people in the community Development Vocation and Technical Institutes. Mr Speaker, 500 more have been enrolled this year, and we have attached more than 1000 persons to craftsmen in their communities. In this exercise, we provide them with tools, we pay tuition and when they complete, they
are given a package of tools to work with. We also remunerate the master craftsmen who provide them with the training.
Mr Speaker, the Social Investment Fund (SIF) continues to implement the Integrated Rural Development Programme. They completed 126 projects that were ongoing, and initiated 136 projects which are at various stages of completion. These include health facility programmes, quarters, schools and other programmes. So the Rural Development Department is quite busy.
Mr Speaker, still under governance, we have developed a new Local Governance Finances Bill that we would soon bring to this House. We have also developed Regulations to implement the Local Governance Act. We have already looked at the Regulations with the members of Subsidiary Legislation Committee and other Hon Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, as has been indicated, our focus is to support, especially the Ministry of Finance in the mobilisation of domestic revenue. We have worked on that to develop new tools and measures and this has led to an
[HAJIA MAHAMA] [HAJIA MAHAMA]
increase in the internally generated funds of our district assemblies. For example, property rates increased by 19 per cent over the 2016 figures, and between 2017 and 2018, we had a further increase of 12 per cent.
In other various matters concerning Internally Generated Funds (IGF), excluding property rates, we had a total percentage increase of 18 per cent between 2017 and 2018 whereas between 2016 and 2017, it was just about three per cent. So, we are giving more resources to the district assemblies through our District Development Fund (DDF) and other programmes.
The essence is not for the Ministry to keep identifying and implementing projects. The essence is for the Ministry to support the district assemblies by strengthening their hands to implement projects, identify their sub-projects, do their procurements and implement them by themselves. So, it is not about the Ministry just doing projects; it is about pushing resources to the districts to do projects.
Mr Speaker, it was indicated that the DACF has been dwindled. Mr Speaker, I beg to differ. In 2016, the total transfer of DACF was GH¢461, 245,117.88. For 2017, it moved from GH¢461 million to GH¢663,183,029.