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Mr Yirleh Chireh, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has appealed to Ghanaians to discuss and bring out relevant ideas that would help enhance efforts aimed at reviewing the decentralization process to ensure an accelerated development.

"Ideas and issues that Ghanaians are expected to bring out must be done in a non-partisan and non-political manner as a means to addressing teething challenges that the system had faced over its 20 years of existence", he said.

Mr Chireh said this at a regional consultative meeting on the decentralization process aimed at soliciting views from civil society organisations, the public and the district assemblies with the view to restructuring the system.

He said though consultants and technical men had been engaged to work and review the system, dispassionate input from the ordinary Ghanaian could help in no small way.

Dr. Esther Offei-Aboagye, Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said reflection on 20 years of decentralization and the assembly system of local governance should take into consideration the extent to which local authorities are empowered as well as the performance of assemblies.

She said emerging areas of concern should also be local economic development including private/public partnership and poverty reduction and pro-poor development concepts.

Dr Offei-Aboagye said though the decentralization process had chalked a number of successes over the years, there was still widespread perception about the under-utilization of key opportunities.

"Assemblies have also not been as effective as they could be in all of the mandatory areas of development", she added.

Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, said "there is no doubt that the decentralisation process has achieved a lot for this nation especially this region".

He said a critical look at places like Juaboso and Bia before the implementation of decentralisation concept and what they are now after 20 years of the process showed that it was only an effective decentralization form of administration that could open up the countryside.

Mr Aidoo called for a few modifications on the election process of the Presiding Member.

"Though the Presiding Member has a very important role to play in the assembly, the mode of election as often creates problems".

He said the assembly should also be allowed to use part of its common fund to pay allowances of its members to ensure efficiency.


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