Regional News of 2014-01-23

Build confidence in accountability issues

Mr Daniel Syme, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister on Monday called on the Media to build confidence in members of the public to demand for accountability from public office holders on public finance management.

He said social accountability was very important, and acknowledged that about 70 per cent of the general public, especially those living in rural communities, were not aware of social accountability issues in public institutions most of whom were always at the receiving ends.

Mr Syme was addressing the Regional Media Network of journalists on social accountability in Bolgatanga, which was attended by Miss Margeret Okine, an official at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).

The Deputy Minister expressed worry that questions about accountability for public office holders connoted victimization, and said holding public officers accountable was a “no go area,” and urged public office holders to change with the times and allow the Media to instill in the public a sense of responsibility to ask questions related to accountability.

He was glad that a Media Network on Social Accountability was in the region to monitor the implementation and progress of development projects under the Assemblies, and said such vigilance was needed to continuously monitor and avoid recurrence of corruption.

Mr Syme said it was time for public officers to be equipped to withstand questions of accountability and not to see themselves as being victimized, and assured the Network of the Regional Co-ordinating Council’s support to carry out their work. He therefore charged the Media to see their role as partners in development.

Members of the network took turns to ask questions on shoddy contract works in the region, including the Bolgatanga Sports Stadium, and stressed the need to look within the region for good contractors to execute projects instead of outsiders who sometimes could not be traced if they needed to answer questions.

Members of the network thanked the Deputy Minister for his words of assurance, and expressed the desire to work together to avoid speculations, urging assemblies in the region to co-operate with members of the network anytime they approached them for information.

Miss Margeret Okine was in the region to participate in the network’s meeting, assess the performance of the group and to discuss work plans for the year.

The Upper East Network would focus on two municipalities in the region for 2014.