Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has said that government would use the review of the decentralisation process to rekindle popular interest in local governance and democracy.
He said the review should help the country to strategise on how to coordinate the different initiatives in local development and to promote cohesion.
It is in this direction that government would provide Ghanaians, irrespective of education, gender, geographical location, political affiliation, age or religion, the opportunity to be heard and their issues taken into account.
Mr Yieleh Chireh was speaking at the second workshop to review 20 years of local governance in Ghana organised by the Institute of Local Government Studies and Public Agenda newspaper.
The Minister said the review process would take into account the several studies, reflections and consultations on the country’s decentralisation efforts over the years to harness these resources and to consolidate gains.
To be able to do this and achieve a desirable outcome, four sets of activities are to be implemented concurrently between September and December this year.
These are 10 regional level consultations to be organised under the auspices of the regional coordinating councils and the Ministry of Local government and Rural Development to receive inputs from identifiable interest groups and the public.
There will also be review of relevant reports, documents and products generated over the two decades to distil the essential concerns and proposals for action, consultations with traditional authorities, women’s groups, parliamentarians and civil society as well as written contributions from the public.
Mr Yieleh Chireh said all collated views would feed into the National Stakeholder Conference to validate areas of consensus while the contentious issues were debated and resolved and the way forward confirmed.
To keep Ghanaians adequately informed about the process, the minister said regular briefing sessions would be held for cabinet, regional ministers, the media and development partners.
There would also be a website where updated information on the process would be available from the first week in October.
Mr Yieleh Chireh said the review would remove the challenges and problems associated with the decentralisation concept and make the local government institutions more accountable to the people they directly serve.
Dr Volker Monikes, Programme Manager, Ghanaian-German Support for Decentralisation Reforms Programme, said it was necessary to constantly review the needs of the decentralised system to adjust the mechanisms that make it work and to give each of its level the capacities, the responsibilities and the needed resources.
“This is a complicated process which depends on the focused attention and the clear political will from all walks of the society in order to become meaningful and sustainable,” he said.
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