The Birim North District was carved out of the former Birim District Council in 1987 as part of the government’s decentralization programme to promote effective decentralized governance and speed up the development of the area. After Akyemansa District was carved out of the Birim North District, its estimated total land area reduced significantly from 1270 square kilometers to 550 square kilometers. It has 78 settlements within its jurisdiction. The District is bounded to the north by kwahu west district, to the West by Asante Akyem South and Adansi South District all in the Ashanti Region, to the south by Akyemansa District and to the east by Atiwa and Kwaebibiriem District.
Birim North District assembly shall work in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure total and wholesome socio-economic development of the district.
The Birim North District assembly exists to ensure the total development of the district and quality improvement in the life of its people through an accelerated and sustainable shared growth, poverty reduction and promotion of gender equity, protection and empowerment of the vulnerable and excluded within a decentralized democratic environment.
COMPACTNESS OF THE DISTRICT CAPITAL
It has one compact town, New Abirem, a well known commercial town as the District capital. The District capital is located about 241kilometres North–West of Accra with a population of about 6,123 people. It is the third largest urban center in the District after Akoase and Afosu (GSS, 2010 PHC).
POPULATION GROWTH AND DENSITY
The 2010 National Population and Housing Census put the District population at 78,907 representing 3 percent of the region population with an intercensal growth rate of about 3.6%. The in and out flow of population to the district especially its capital on a daily basis is estimated to be 2,000. The projected population is therefore considered rather low considering the inflow of people into the district capital on daily basis. The male population is 39,572 (50.2%) and that of female is 39,335(49.8%), indicating that there are slightly more males than females in the district.
Further, the 2010 population figure yields a density of 1,434 persons per sq km which is one of the highest in the region. This indicates a great pressure of population on land, resources and social services especially in the District capital town –New Abirem
According to the 2010 National Population Census, only 26.8 percent of the population lived in urban areas and the rest (73.2%) lived in rural areas. This shows that the District is essentially a rural district with majority of its population living in the rural areas compared with urban areas
Economic Potential of the District.
The strategic location of the District capital town couple with a high population growth rate makes New Abirem one of the fastest growing and a vibrant commercial town in the region. Apart from serving as a strong marketing center for her boarder districts, it is the main marketing center for goods coming from Kade, Nkawkaw and Akim Oda. It therefore has a potential of promoting strong economic linkages with a number of Districts’ to promote economic growth through trade and investment.
- a) Establishment
The Birim North District was carved out of the former Birim District Council in 1987 as part of the government’s decentralization programme to promote effective decentralized governance and speed up the development of the area in the Eastern Region of Ghana Act of Parliament (Legislative Instrument 1923). It has deliberative, legislative and executive powers.
- b) Structure of the Assembly
The District consists of 26 electoral areas and represented in the general Assembly by elected and appointed Assembly members. The composition of the Assembly is made up of 26 elected members, 12 appointed members, one Member of Parliament and the District Chief Executive.
The General Assembly is headed by an elected Presiding Member with the District Coordinating Director as the Secretary. The Assembly has two committees i.e. Executive committee and Public Relation Committee. The Executive committee has six sub-committees which facilitate the performance of its statutory functions. The sub-committees are as follows.
- i) Sub-committees
- Development Planning Sub-committee
- Works Sub-Committee
- Finance and Administration Sub-committee
- Justice and Security Sub-committee
- Social Services Sub-committee
- Agric and Environment Sub-committee
Further, we have in the District all the decentralized departments and other quasi government organizations like the National Commission on Civic Education, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ghana Ambulance Service, NBSSI, Fire Service, Immigration Service, Electoral Commission, Stool lands, Electricity Company among others. The established Decentralized Departments
Are as follows:
- Town and Country Planning Department
- Department of Social Development
- Ghana Education Service – District Office
- Ghana Health Services – District Office
- National Commission on Civic Education
- Department of Birth and Deaths
- Department of Cooperatives
- Department of Agriculture
- C) Sub-District structures (Urban/Town and Area Councils)
The District has four sub-structures namely:
- New Abirem/Afosu Area Council
- Akoase Town Council
- Praman Area Council
- Pankese Area Council
The Area Councils are well established and are supporting the Assembly in its development efforts. All the Area Councils have the full complement of staff to work with.
Health Service Delivery
The infrastructure of health delivery system of the District consists of 1 government hospital at New Abirem, 2 private clinics, one in Afosu and New Abirem and 5 Reproductive and Child Health Centers at Nkwarteng, Adausena, Afosu, Amuana Praso and Tweapease. The District can boost of 26 demarcated CHPS centers of which 14 is operational and two under construction with 27 herbalists and spiritual healers in the entire District.
The District’s government hospital, located at New Abirem, has a 69-bed ward including Emergency Ward, Theatre, Medical laboratory, Pharmacy Department, Dental clinic, Out-Patients Department and Eye Clinic. The hospital lacks an X-Ray Department and a Mortuary. However, most of cases beyond the hospital are referred to Nkawkaw, Atibie, Akim Oda, Koforidua or Accra.
The hospital has only 3 doctors with 3 medical assistants, 1 Dental Surgeon, 1 Ophthalmic Nurse (ENT), 2 Biomedical Scientist, 2 Laboratory Technicians and 2 Pharmacist with 2 Dispensary Assistants. The District has a Doctor – Population ratio of 1:29,795 as against national average of 1:25,000 and WHO standard of 1:10,000. The Nurse Population ratio is also 1: 1,625 as against the national figure of 1:900.
Even though tourism has become one of the main sources of income and employment generation in the country, the Birim North District Assembly is yet to reap its full benefits. There are a number of tourist sites that has the potential of rivaling some of the well known tourist sites in the country. Though largely undeveloped, these sites hold the key to the area’s development if steps are taken to tap the large potential they present.
The District is endowed with as many as 10 efficiently managed forest reserves that are well resourced with some of the most beautiful flora and fauna which are basic to the development of attractive wild life sanctuaries or parks. Near Otwereso is a picturesque site of the confluence of the Birim and Pra rivers. At Akrofunso, near Afosu are Ashanti antique War Bells and a grove that marks the spot where the great Ashanti King, Osei Tutu, was killed.
The economic activities carried out in the District include primary (crops) production, animal husbandry, small scale industrial activities, mining and commerce. The Birim North District is predominantly agrarian because about 73.5 percent of the entire labour force is into agriculture and its related activities. The population in commerce and services forms about 15.2 percent and 3.8 percent of the labour force respectively.
The District has large quantities of gold in the Southern part around Ajenjua Bepo surrounded by Ntronang, Afosu, Adausena, New Abirem, Yayaso and Hweakwae communities. Newmont Golden Ridge Limited-Akyem has gone through the legal processes and has acquired all the legal permits to commence the mining of gold in the District. It is estimated that an amount of 500,000oz of gold will be mined annually over the next 15 years with an 8.5Mtpa processing plan. The mining activities are expected to boost the District economy in the area of housing construction and provision of ancillary services such as catering services among others.
It is also expected that a lot of revenue will come to the District Assembly by way of royalties estimated to be GH¢900,000.00 per annum to the District Assembly. This expected revenue will assist the Assembly in its development efforts by way of the provision of social infrastructure such as schools, water and sanitation facilities, health, roads among others.
Another major advantage which the mining activities will bring to the District is its potential employment avenue. It is expected that both skilled and unskilled labour will be employed in the mining industry in the District thereby offering the youth employment opportunities.
One major challenge anticipated to be associated with the mining activities is the expected influx of people from all walks of life. It expected that a lot of people will migrate into the District to look for employment opportunities in the mining company. In order to minimize pressure on the existing social facilities by the influx, the Birim North District Assembly in collaboration with Newmont Akyem Project has come up with the Influx Management Plan. It is expected that some specific activities will be put in place in the plan so that the social facilities such as water, sanitation and health facilities will be expanded and equipped in order to cater for the expected increasing population. Also, measures will be put in place to minimize the social vices such as prostitution, armed robbery among others associated with mining communities.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of the Birim North District. As indicated, about 85.5 percent of the labour force in the District is engaged in one form of agricultural enterprise or the other. The major crops cultivated in the District include cocoa, oil palm, citrus, rice, maize, plantain, cassava, cocoyam and vegetables. The average monthly income for the agricultural sector in the District is about GH¢115.90. The following areas are considered under the Agricultural sector; Land tenure – availability and acquisition, farm sizes and holdings, Farming systems, Farm labour, Area under cultivation and Types of crops cultivated as well as their estimated yields, Sources of finance to the Agricultural sector, Extension services, Farm tools and equipment, Storage and marketing systems.