• Okyenhene with Mr Oppong Nkrumah (left) and another official from the ministry

The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, is ad­vocating increased investments in rural communities to drive the country’s development.

According to him, for Ghana to realise its development objectives, there was the need for enhanced investments in rural communities to create opportunities for the dwellers.

He argued that currently, the absence of such investments was the reason for the deprived and poor nature of rural communities and dwellers.

Speaking here at Kyebi in the Abuakwa South Municipality yesterday when the Minister of Works and Housing, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, paid a courtesy call on him, he said Ghana’s development was stagnant due to a biased focus on urban areas.

“We have to give rural Ghana an opportunity by increasing invest­ments. Currently, 80 per cent of our populace are in rural settings but are challenged with poverty in education, health, sanitation, among others.

No country can develop with­out enhancing investments in rural settings. Any country that does not pay attention to rural dwellers will not prosper. Urban growth alone cannot drive development,” the Okyenhene added.

He further made a case for decentralisation of government systems saying it was critical in improving the delivery of basic services and ensuring public insti­tutions were effective and efficient.

The centrality of governance and the fusion of socialism and capitalism development models by successive governments, he said, had not produced the desired results for the country, hence the need for a change.

“It is now clear that the social­ism foundations and the capital­ism policies had not worked for us. Decentralised governance is critical at this stage. All we need is better local supervision to improve the structures and efficiency,” Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin noted.

He charged the minister to work closely with all stakeholders to deliver public projects in a timely manner as envisioned by the Presi­dent, Nana Akufo-Addo.

On his part, Mr Nkrumah said the visit was to seek the support and counsel of the Okyenhene in the conduct of his duties as Minis­ter of Works and Housing.

He expressed gratitude to the chief for the invaluable support and guidance he received in his previous role in government.

The minister said the visit to the area was to inspect the progress of public projects within the mu­nicipality, including the drainage works at Kyebi Bronikrom Habitat, modern community market centre at Kyebi Council Area and the Eastern Regional Fire Service Academy.

Additionally, the inspection was to ensure that the required safety and health standards were being adhered to by the contractors.

“As a ministry responsible for public works, we are worried about safety at public works construction sites where contractors do not supply the required safety gears to their workers while consultants look on with blatant disregard,” he stated.

In this regard, Mr Nkrumah noted that the Directorate of Works of the Ministry would be embarking on routine visits to con­struction sites to ensure the safety measures were strictly enforced.

He directed consultants on various projects to issue stop work orders to contractors that flout the standards.

FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, KYEBI