The government has been urged to ensure that there is genuine transfer of power to the local government structures to enhance administrative functions for improved decentralization process.
Mr. Rudolf Amenga-Etego, Executive Director of Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica), stated this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga on Friday.
GrassRootsAfrica is a local NGO working in the area of poverty reduction and strengthening political, economic and social rights of the poor and the marginalized.
Mr Amenga-Etego, also the Assemblyman for Kandiga-Kurugu Electoral Area in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, explained that although Ghana had been practicing the decentralization system for about two decades, many of the assemblies and departments could not act on their own.
He said in most cases they had to take directives from Central Government before they could execute development programmes.
Mr Amenga-Etego expressed dissatisfaction about the process where regional heads had to wait for directives from the Central Government which often delayed the execution of projects.
He explained that under the decentralization system, governance structures at the grassroots should be allowed to make their own decisions and to implement them since managers lived with the people and knew their development needs.
Mr Amenga-Etego said the flow of the “Assembly Common Fund” and the deductions made from it at source also affected the smooth running of the system since they were left with meager sums of money to undertake development projects.
He stressed the need for Central Government to ensure that financial and human resources were transferred to the grassroots to build schools, health facilities and housing to attract the requisite manpower to those areas.
Mr Amenga-Etego said there was also the need to empower the Area and Unit Committees by building the capacities of members and motivate them to work.
He suggested that the District Assembly Common Fund should be made part of the National Budget instead of entrusting to the Assembly Common Fund Authority to enable the assemblies to access their funds on time.
Mr Amenga-Etego said his outfit for the past years had empowered many communities and Civil Society Organizations in the Upper East Region and were now actively involved in the decision making process with the District Assemblies.
He appealed to other NGOs and stakeholders to partner government to ensure that the decentralization concept was properly and effectively implemented to enhance the growth of the country’s democracy.