COVID-19: Prioritize and Innovate in the Mist of Dwindling IGF – NALAG to MMDAs

The National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) has advised the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country to prioritize, innovate and apply technology to begin the journey back to normal ways in raising revenue for their activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of NALAG, Bismark Baisie Nkum, observed that the restrictions brought about by the novel Coronavirus disease all over the country on the movement of people and their inability to stimulate the usual economic activities, has affected the generation of revenue at both the local and national levels considerably and causing a dearth in resource mobilization and allocation for the 2020 fiscal year.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Monday, June 15, 2020, on a nationwide engagement of Presiding Members and selected Assembly Members on the COVID-19 pandemic on the theme: “A Collective Fight Against the Spread and Stigmatization”, the President of NALAG, observed that for the local government to continue to play its role to ensure compliance and to provide the necessary infrastructure to contain the virus, there must be new ways of doing things by spotting the opportunities in the pandemic.

“The threats of the novel coronavirus- COVID-19 also present an inherent opportunity for MMDAs to consider new ways of doing things. As an example, MMDAs should now think of the possibility of having virtual meetings where the usual physical locational meetings may not be possible for reasons of COVID-19. It is our hope that in the future, our laws will consider such virtual meetings as legal.”

He stressed the need for the assemblies to take advantage of the moment to digitize their services in order to avoid direct human contact but at the same time mobilize the right amount of revenue remotely for the development of their communities.

“We should also think about digitizing our services to enable clients access same from a

President of NALAG_Bismark Baisie Nkum

remote location to reduce the usual human interface. A digitized and a mobile enabler platform can be used for revenue collection, building permit processing and host of others,” he noted.

Having said that, Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum also called on the central government to come to extend some funds to the local authorities who have been badly hit by the pandemic in order to stimulate their economy to continue playing their expected roles effectively.

“Central Government should extend the stimulus package to the MMDAs since the internally generated revenues of the Assemblies have dwindled drastically amidst increase in expenditure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Government should consider extra funding for MMDAs to render other social services as provided,” he said.

Informing the press about some of the key issues identified from their engagement with their members across the country, the President of NALAG observed that in most cases, District health directorates enter communities without involving the Assembly members and this creates difficulty for cooperation from the community members in adhering to the established protocols.

He also said, some communities treated suspected cases as confirmed cases basically as a result of lack of understanding of the procedure and this often create stigmatization where suspected cases even return negative.

Mr. Baisie Nkum added that the manner in which recovery cases are released into the community creates unnecessary suspicion and stigma for the individuals involved, which goes to the extent of affecting their economic life.

The General Secretary of NALAG, Okro Amankwah also indicated to the media that the stigmatization was an epidemic within the COVID-19 pandemic. In that, many of the confirmed cases who have recovered are not being welcome by their respective communities due to lack of understanding of the disease, its spread and treatment.

He also mentioned that one of the challenges militating against the spread of the disease is that there are some communities who are in denial of the existence of the disease hence the general lack of commitment in adherence to the COVID-19 prevention protocols and guidelines.

He therefore courted the support of the media help in the education to fight stigmatization.

Source: Clement Akoloh||africanewsradio.com



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