Regional News Wed, 25 Feb 2004

Govt urged to remove bottlenecks in decentralization programme

Apam (C/R), Feb. 25, GNA - The Gomoa District Co-ordinating Director, Mr Eric Oppong Bediako has urged the government to identify and remove bottlenecks, which inhibit the successful implementation of the decentralization programme.

Mr Bediako said Ghanaians saw the policy as the bedrock of development and would want to see its successful implementation. He was opening a two-day workshop organized by the assembly for chairpersons of town and area councils in the district at Apam on Tuesday. The workshop was to sharpen the skills of the participants to enable them perform their duties efficiently. Mr Bediako said the work of the district assemblies would not succeed without the support of the unit committees and town and area councils.

The District Co-ordinating Director said the decision of the government to make the assemblies pay the salaries of the chairpersons, secretaries and treasurers of town and area councils from their internally generated funds should be reconsidered since the assemblies found it difficult to pay.

Mr Eric Akobeng, District Budget Analyst called for an amendment of the 1992 Constitution to make the post of District Chief Executive elective instead of by appointment to conform to the non-partisan nature of the district assembly concept.

Mr Akobeng said though heads of decentralized departments were supposed to be working under the assemblies, they still owed allegiance to their regional and national heads with little regard to the assemblies. Their projects and programmes were mostly not known to the assemblies.

He said even though the Local Government Act 462 required that the budget for the district should include the revenue and expenditure of all departments and organizations under the assembly, including the annual development plans and programmes, they hardly did so. Mr Akobeng said the situation had resulted in duplications leading to wastage of resources.

He urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to clearly defined the roles of the staff of the assemblies to avoid conflicts over who should do what.

Source: GNA