Media practitioners urged to demand accountability

media2Media practitioners have been charged to be critical and demand financial management accountability from the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies (MMAs), in order to keep them on track.

Madam Fati Lily Soale, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), made the call at a day’s sensitisation workshop for media practitioners and staff of the Information Services Department, in Takoradi.

She said the government had secured a 175-million dollar support from the World Bank and other donor partners for Local Government Capacity Project (LGCSP), which would be implemented in the 46 MMAs in the next five years.

She said part of the funding would go into training the capacity of media practitioners, the citizenry, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in the local governance system to equip them adequately in order to hold the MMAs accountable.

Madam Soale said the LGCSP aimed at strengthening inter-governmental fiscal framework, improve citizens’ engagement with MMAs and their perceptions of urban management, as well as make stronger local public financial management and accountability for improved infrastructure and quality service delivery.

Mr Elvis Otoo, a Consultant for LGCSP, who gave an overview of the project, said it would address weaknesses of the local governance system and improve on the performances of the MMAs.

He said the project would target key reform areas namely, budgeting, reporting and audit systems, revenue and asset management, as well as enhance social accountability among the MMAs.

Mr Otoo said media networks would be formed in the 10 regions that would work closely with the Social Accountability Unit of the MLGRD to ensure local government public financial management and social accountability among the MMAS.

He said the networks would also give voice to the marginalised, provide forum for the exchange of views and fulfil a watchdog function by observing and reporting on social accountability issues and processes.

The regional networks would be tasked to  increase   awareness  of citizens on their entitlements,  to help manage their expectations,  as well as provide channel  for local government actors  to communicate and interact with citizens on public financial management and social accountability  activities   under  the LGCSP.

The LGCSP consultant explained that the project is modelled on the Functional Organisational Assessment Tool and District Development Facility initiative.

It is expected to provide integrated support to build the capacity of the MMAs as well as build on the incentive-driven approach to enhance their performances.

Mr Otoo indicated that the LGCSP has four key components, with the first component aimed at strengthening the fiscal framework for decentralisation, while the   second component is aimed at enhancing decentralised urban service delivery.

The third component would be targeted at stimulating demands for accountable governance and service delivery while the fourth would cover institutional and project management support.

Source: GNA

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