West Africa local government unions urged to collaborate to deepen democracy

Local government employees’ unions within West African sub region can make democracy more meaningful at the grassroots if they collaborate to share ideas, a Ghanaian union official has said.

Mr Joe Boahen, General Secretary of the Local Government Workers Union (LGWU), who told the Ghana News Agency on Sunday, said: “The effective collaboration and sharing of best practices among local government unions in the sub region will be an important step to deepen democracy and decentralization at the local level”.

He said there seemed to be lots of challenges implementing local governance systems and especially the concept of decentralization among states in the region, but all that could be surmounted through learning from each.

Mr Boahen was commenting on the just ended international workshop in Accra for 350 members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) from the State of Osun.

The group, which was the first batch of about 1,000 Nigerian employees expected to attend the workshop in the country, used Ghana as a case study to draw lessens from the country’s local governance system.

The workshop organized in collaboration with the LGWU on the theme: “Local Government as a Tool for Grassroots Development,” saw Ghanaian union experts presenting papers on topics including “Local Government Administration and its Impact on the Society: Ghana as a case Study”.

The second and third batches would hold their workshops in May and June this year.

To move forward as a country, the LGWU General Secretary said, when the capacity of the local government worker was upgraded through constant learning, he would contribute well to promote participation of local people in decision making and allowed them to owe development programmes.

Mr Boahen said the LGWU would in future also visit Nigeria and or other states in the sub region to study their local governance system and trade unionism, adding such a move should be encouraged and supported by even the government of the day because the employees of the local government workers were key implementers of Ghana’s decentralization policy.

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, who opened the workshop, said Ghana’s vision was to oversee the development of a central administrative authority and promote grassroots participation in the decision making process.

Adekomi Jacob Babatunde, NULGE President, State of Osun, said Ghana was chosen because of the mutual agreement between NULGE and Ghana’s LGWU and similarity in terms their political history.

Source: GNA

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