DEVELOPMENT is a process and not an event. It is in this vain that many are of the view that projects started but not completed by one regime should be continued by succeeding regime.
It is also an undeniable fact that development is a share responsibility and required the joint effort of both government and the private sector to pool resources together to enhance socio-economic advancement.
In deed development should not be left in the hands of the government alone since government resources are not unlimited and demands by human demands are insatiable. It, therefore, requires all hands on deck to propel development at a faster pace to meet the aspirations of the people.
It is in the light of these that the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly in the Upper East Region has decided to collaborate with others to move the development agenda of the Municipality forward.
As part of efforts to increase its revenue base through Internally Generated Fund (IGF) and not to solely depend on the Distric.t Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) whose allocation or disbursement are irregular, that the Assembly has entered into partnership with the business community to construct a new ultra modem market complex in the municipality to boost business, trade and commerce in the area.
The one storey market complex which is expected to provide 312 stores at an estimated cost of GH¢6,723,600 is being constructed under a Public Private Partnership agreement between the Assembly and the business community.
The project is being executed in three phases; the first phase has 32 beneficiaries constructing 128 stores, while the second phase has 34 beneficiaries constructing 136 stores with the third phase having the least number of 12 beneficiaries constructing 48 stores. Works on the three phases are progressing steadily with some close to completion.
Under the agreement, dubbed, "Build Operate and Transfer (BOT)," a business operative or beneficiary is to construct four stores, two each upstairs and ground floor at an estimated cost ofGH¢86,200.
The business operatives or beneficiaries, with majority being traders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to that effect and are required under the terms: of agreement to pay GHC750 as commitment fees .
Additionally a beneficiary is required to pay GHC21, 110 as consultancy and labour fees in four installmentofGH¢5,275 each. Similarly a beneficiary is expected to pay GH¢65, I 00 as material fees.
Under the MOU four or five beneficiaries are put together and assigned one contractor to execute the project and the beneficiaries and the contractor determine what materials are required for use.
The MOU provides that the consultancy fees are paid to the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL), consultants to the project for supervision to ensure effective and efficient delivery of the project while the labour fees are paid to the contractor to meet the cost of labour on the project.
With the completion of the project, one store each of the four stores of the benciaries is given to the Assembly for allocation to under-privileged traders. In other words, the under-privileged would benefit from'78 of the 312 stores.
Under the deal, such-under privileged traders would be required to pay rent to the beneficiary. Upon completion of the project, beneficiaries are required to operate the stores for between five and eight years after which ownership is reverted to the Municipal Assembly.
When the stores are reverted to the Assembly, the beneficiaries could continue to operate in the stores if they so wish but this time round, they would be paying rent to the Assembly.
This is indeed an elaborate and well thought out PPP arrangement and a BOT deal that would boost the local economy of the people and give the Municipality, which is the regional capital, a face lift.
According to the Municipal Chief Executive, (MCE) of Bolgatanga, Mr Edward Ayiriba Ayagle, the project is what he terms "his baby" and would be strictly monitored to ensure its successful completion.
He said the' people, especially traders have embraced the project as a laudable one and are working assiduously to ensure its early completion. Mr Ayagle said "every MCE has left behind one project or the other to his or her credit. But I want to be remembered of a unique initiative which can be described as second to none in the municipality in particular and the region as a whole."
"The, high level of co-operation between the contractors and beneficiaries is heart-warming and the supervision from the AESL is commendable and the Assembly on its part would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the project is delivered to perfection to stand the test of time," he added.
The enthusiasm with which the project is being executed gives a strong indication that it is a laud- able project that has the potential of boosting the local economy, increase revenue generation of the Assembly besides being worthy of emulation.
It is, therefore, recommended that other Municipal and District Assemblies behold learn from Mr Ayagle and the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly's example and introduce similar initiatives in their areas to help reduce poverty which is endemic in the Upper East Region.
Source: Ghanaian Times