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Politics Fri, 14 Oct 2016

Local gov’t expert backs NPP on election of MMDCEs

A local government expert has touted the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 manifesto promise to push for the direct election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) if the party wins elections in December.

The NPP has promised to ensure that MMDCEs are elected within 24 months in office.

Dr. Eric Oduro-Osae, the Dean of Graduate Studies at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), believes the election of MMDCEs has become crucial for the effective administration of local authorities.

"The local people are yearning for the election of their leaders. There should not be interference. If the NPP is promising us that within 24 months they are going to elect Chief Executives, it is good,” he said.

Dr. Oduro-Osae was presenting his analysis on the recently launched NPP 2016 manifesto on current affairs programme, PM Express, which airs on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.

Speaking on Thursday's edition of the weekdays evening programme, Dr. Oduro-Osae said the NPP’s policy proposals for local governance in Ghana presents progressive reforms that can enhance decentralisation if they will be implemented.

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He said the current situation where the President appointments the Chief Executives makes them ineffective at their job.

"If we are able to elect the Chief Executive, it will lead to the development and it will promote transparency," Dr. Oduro-Osae said.

He is also excited about plans by the NPP to abolish the manipulation of the District Assemblies Common Fund by the central government. He notes that the current practice where the central government makes deductions at source from the Common Fund to fund projects stifles the local authorities.

"Now they [NPP] want to release everything so that assemblies will have resources to be able to undertake development projects. That for me is good,” he told show host Nana Ansah Kwao IV.

As part of its fiscal decentralisation drive, the opposition party also says it will decentralise and equip the Land Valuation Board (LVB) “to provide direct technical support on property valuation to MMDAs for enhanced revenue mobilization.”

Dr. Oduro-Osae says NPP’s plan for the LVB is another example of a laudable local governance policy proposal that must be supported.

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“Once we are able to get the Land Valuation Board within the District Assemblies, there can be ongoing property valuation and revaluation at a lesser cost to the District Assemblies so that we can have them [LVB] charging realistic fees,” he said.

In the manifesto, the opposition party said it is committed to decentralising local governance and has promised to focus on effective and efficient decentralisation through greater grassroots participation, better planning and improved service delivery in local communities.

The opposition party has criticised the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the John Mahama-led administration of failing to add to the financial resources of the District Assemblies.

“Rather, his government has instituted a practice by which a large portion of the DACF is deducted at source for spending by the Ministry. Only 33.3% of the allocated DACF is actually transferred for direct utilization by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). This weakens the effective functioning of local government,” the NPP states in its manifesto.

Source: Myjoyonline.com