The Bongo District Assembly has intensified public sensitization on the Coronavirus Pandemic following a first time recorded case in the district.
The Hon District Chief Executive (DCE) of Bongo District Assembly and leader of the COVID-19 Team of the district, Hon Peter Ayimbisa disclosed this in Bongo during Public Sensitization Forum through Bongo Community Radio on the Impact of Covid-19 on the implementation of the Annual Action Plan (AAP) of the Assembly and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Hon DCE stated that the planning and implementation processes of the Assembly’s plans require the active participation of citizens through regular consultations at the community, area, and Zonal council levels for inputs, views, and development priorities of the citizenry.
However, the COVID-19 restrictions on public and social gatherings impacted negatively on the Assembly’s efforts to mobilize and facilitate citizens’ participation in the formulation and implementation of the Assembly’s plans.
He further pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected resource mobilization of the Assembly as the lock-down in the major towns and cities and closure of borders greatly impacted negatively on businesses in the district resulting in very low Internally Generated Revenue.
This, according to the Hon DCE, created a huge budget deficit thereby posing a serious challenge to effectively finance a number of well -planned pro-poor activities in agriculture, education, water, sanitation and hygiene to reduce poverty, hunger and improve availability, accessibility, and affordability of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities as a contribution towards meeting the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The people of Bongo were informed that the Assembly had so far received an amount of Seventy Thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc70,000.00) from the COVID-19 Relief Fund and these funds were being properly used to support the fight against COVID-19.
The Hon DCE who paused his presentation to pay a glowing tribute to the former Chief Executive of Forestry Commission and former General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie alias Sir John who, according to him, died of the virus, advised the public to observe the COVID-19 safety protocols by wearing face masks in public places, regular hand washing, hand sanitizing and social distancing as the virus is no respecter of persons.
The District Planning Officer of the Assembly, Mr. Thomas Kugoriba and the Local Government Inspector of the Assembly, Mr. Nyaaba Alfred took the public through the Annual Action Plan of the Bongo District Assembly and provided details of COVID-19 Responsive projects in each of the communities, markets, and schools in the district.
According to the Planning Officer, the Assembly had scheduled to review its Medium Term Development Plan taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on the Assembly’s plan and how to mitigate it.
The Assembly recognized and acknowledged the support of Water Aid Ghana and UNICEF for a number of interventions that contributed significantly to improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in the district.
The Public Sensitization Forum which was organized and facilitated by the Bongo District Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Platform on SDGs with support of Water Aid Ghana sought to contribute towards deepening participatory local governance for increased responsiveness, transparency, and accountability of local government authorities.
The Convener of the Bongo District CSOs Platform on SDGs, Mr. Bismark Adongo Ayorogo explained that facilitating Citizens-Government Engagement through community radio was one of the innovative ways of reaching out to hundreds of community members to engage the Assembly on issues of governance and development without physical mass gathering in this era of COVID-19. He said similar activity had taken place in the Kasena-Nankana West District and urged the two Assemblies to continue engaging with the people after the intervention of the District CSOs Platforms on SDGs.
Community members who participated in the programme through phone-in calls complained of limited WASH facilities in some communities and therefore demanded an increased supply of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in every part of the district to promote handwashing, proper waste management and end open defecation.
Bismark Adongo Ayorogo
(Convener-Bongo District CSOs Platform on SDGs)