Dr Callistus Mahama, Head of the Local Government Service, has appealed to Civil Society Organizations (CBOs) to help advance the course of decentralization in the country.
He emphasized that municipal and district assemblies as well as CBOs and traditional rulers had collective roles to play in strengthening the country’s decentralization process.
Dr Mahama, who is also the Executive Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Decentralization Secretariat (IMCC), made the appeal at a decentralization advocacy workshop at Abesim, near Sunyani.
It was organised by the IMCC with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and attended by District and Municipal Coordinating Directors, CBOs, Non-Governmental Organisations, traditional rulers, assembly members and presiding members.
The workshop aimed at sensitizing the more than 90 participants on the decentralization policy to empower them champion the course of decentralization, was on the theme: “deepening decentralization advocacy for effective participatory democracy and self reliance”.
Dr Mahama observed that CBOs, NGOs and all the key actors in local governance system could play active role in the decentralization process when they were well abreast with the decentralization policy.
He explained that decentralization concept played cardinal role in the local governance system and looking at the high population growth, there was the need to ensure that the concept gained active grounds to enhance local governance.
Dr Mahama expressed concern that majority of Ghanaians lacked knowledge on the national decentralization reforms and was optimistic that participants would take the workshop seriously and pass on the knowledge they would acquire on to others.
In a speech read for him, Paul Evans Aidoo, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, stated that Ghana had since 1998 implemented comprehensive local government and decentralization reforms as an alternative development strategy.
He said over the 25 years of its implementation, the country had recorded significant successes, including the creation of 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and increased collaboration between localities and development partners.
Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a consultant at the Local Government Service, said modalities had been worked out to fuse seven departments into the MMDAs to deepen the local governance system.
He said according to Legislative Instrument (LI 1967) all unit committees ought to be strengthened while the constitutional provision of appointments of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) ought to be maintained.
Under this provision, it was the prerogative of the President to nominate MMDCEs for Assembly members to approve, Prof. Ahwoi, a local government expert, stated.
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