THE last three years have witnessed significant improvement in the development agenda of Old Tafo/ Pankrono, thanks to the initiative of the Member of Parliament for the area, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the government
The area used to be a deprived constituency in Kumasi. With a population of over 120,000 and one of the new sub metropolitan areas in Kumasi, it could be one of the emerging communities in terms of socio-economic development in Kumasi.
Kumasi is a massive city with the various sub-metros, communities and other areas striving to complement the efforts of the government and the metropolitan authority in spearheading the development of the entire city.
It is interesting to note that at the time that some MPs are finding it difficult dealing with their constituents due to alleged non-performance, others are enjoying healthy relations with their people because they have lived up to expectation.
In some constituencies, there are serious question marks about how the MPs have used their share of the common fund.
The MPs share of the common fund is supposed to be used for development projects and programmes but allegations of misapplication of funds sometimes compels some people to question the importance of the scheme.
The effective performance by an MP at the local level eventually translates into the whipping up of communal spirit to enahnce the general development of the community.
This has been the driving force behind Dr Akoto Osei's leadership initiatives in Tafo/Pankrono.
Through strong advocacy, facilitation and networking, the MP, who is also the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has been able to galvanise the people to transform the socio-economic fortunes of the area in his maiden parliamentary term.
Projects that the constituency has benefited from within the last three years can be found in education, roads, health, sanitation, water and electricity, among others.
Through the efforts of the MP, a new six-classroom block for the Tafo/Pankrono Junior High School block has been constructed, the Azaria-Adompom School playing field has been rehabilitated and exercise books have been distributed free of charge to public schools.
Three schools have been fenced by the MP to protect pupils and stop encroachment by unauthorised persons during and after school hours.
The MP has since 2005 committed about GH¢40,000 from his share of the common fund as scholarship for a number of students at various levels of education since 2005.
To ensure that the youth who did not go through the academic stream acquire skills training and the necessary vocational aptitudes to enable them to compete in the labour market and, therefore, make a decent living, the MP and other development partners have initiated various programmes to support the government to address youth unemployment
In line with the initiatives, the MP in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme has set up a wealth creation and social development training centre at Tafo/Pankrono.
The facility provides skills training to the youth to enable them enjoy better living.
So far about 200 youth have graduated in kente weaving and dressmaking from the centre, and some of them are in serious business now.
With the high positive socio-economic impact on poverty reduction and livelihood strategies, the vocational training programmes have been seen to be the surest way to qualitatively measure the extent of pro-poor activities in the area.
A local non-governmental organisation (NGO), Millennium Action Against Poverty, saw the need to assist in the drive to achieve poverty reduction amongst the vulnerable.
The NGO has set up the Al-Abdallah Vocational Training School, which is making a positive impact in the lives of the people, mostly in the large Muslim community of Tafo/Pankrono
Under the Small Grants Scheme, the British High Commission provided GH¢12,500 for the training of 50 people in vegetable agri-business management and rabbit rearing as income generation ventures to help reduce poverty in the area.
To ensure maximum security of the people in view of the rising crime wave, the MP found it convenient to provide street lights for the communities for secured night life. So far about 2000 lights have been provided for the area.
Massive road rehabilitation is going on in the area by the Department of Urban Roads with the full support of the MP.
The rehabilitation of the roads would go a long way to decongest the city’s heavy traffic.
After considerable complaints by the residents in the area, the MP gave GH¢6,000 from his share of the common fund for the grading and rehabilitation of the Pankrono-Adabraka and Dr Akoto Osei's streets to ensure the free flow of vehicular traffic, which has been hampered by erosion on the road as a result of heavy rains.
The Pankrono Health Centre is under construction with funding from the HIPC Fund at the cost of GH¢100,000.
Water is life, it is said ,and the long water problem at Tafo/ Pankrono ended with the provision of a water booster constructed by the Ghana Water Company Limited under the strong advocacy of the MP.
Proper sanitation is key to ensuring a healthy living for the people and the MP has worked to get about 120 people employed by Zoomlion, who are contributing to ensuring a clean environment.
The company has constructed a waste disposal site at Pankrono, where waste is temporarily deposited before it is transported to the final disposal site at Dompoase.