Make Local Government Ministry part of the Presidency – Prof Ahwoi

Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi

Professor Kwamena Ahwoi of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) says the Local Government portfolio within the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) should be converted into a secretariat for decentralisation and Local Governance within the Presidency.

“This was necessary to give it the kind of authority which is required to give instructions to other sector Ministers, instructions which are so necessary if decentralisation was to be effectively implemented”, he explained.

Prof Ahwoi made the assertion at GIMPA’s first inaugural lecture in Accra on the topic: “Functions, Functionaries and Funds: Is there an Alternative Decentralisation Implementation Strategy?”

He said the present situation in which the Minister of MLGRD who is a sector Minister sought to give instructions to colleague Ministers, almost acting like a ‘primus inter pares’, was deeply resented by other Ministers and their top advisors.

Prof Ahwoi explained that the least we can do to help whoever is in charge of decentralization implementation was to elevate him to a position which is perceived as speaking with ‘The President’s Voice’.

He said decentralisation involved the transfer of functions, of functionaries and of funds from the central government to the lower levels of government.

Prof Ahwoi said with the transfer of functions, it was necessary to consolidate all the functions to be performed by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in one local government.

He explained that with the transfer of functionaries, “we should allow MMDAs to hire and fire their staff” and that national level organisation should only establish standards and qualification for appointment, promotion and discipline to be implemented by the MMDAs.

Prof Ahwoi noted that with the transfer of funds, budgetary allocations that are to be used to performed functions should be released to the MMDAs once the functions are transferred to them adding, this can only be operationalised when the ‘composite budget’ system is implemented.

He called for reforms in the decentralised planning system to make it participatory and to link it to a system of participatory budgeting and also the need to carve out roles for civic society organisations and chiefs and traditional authorities in the local governance system.

Prof noted that the decentralised political structures must also be reformed adding the methodology for selecting the District Chief Executive must be maintained, but only the elected members of the MMDCAs, should vote to approve the President’s nominee for the position.

He said the 30 per cent appointed members of assemblies must likewise be maintained but the appointment should be made by the Regional House of Chiefs with clear guidelines contained in a Legislative Instrument.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama in his congratulatory message commended Prof Ahwoi’s role in decentralisation policies.

He said the institute could not have chosen anybody than Prof Ahwoi for the lecture and that his delivery has contributed to the body of knowledge and gives opportunity to review the policy of local government.

Professor Yaw Agyeman Badu, Rector of GIMPA, said the inaugural lecture marked a significant milestone in the 50-year life of the institute.

Prof Badu also said the lecture signified the completion of GIMPAs transition from an institute of Public Administration to a comprehensive University mandated to offer programmes in management, leadership and public administration up to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level.

Source: GNA

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