Government committed to national decentralisation plan – Minister

Akwasi Oppong-Fosu - Local Gov't Minister
Akwasi Oppong-Fosu – Local Gov’t Minister

Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development says Government is committed to implement the National Decentralisation Action Plan.

He said the implementation which would be in consonance with the National Decentralisation Framework needs the cooperation of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chiefs Executive and their Coordinating Directors to effectively help the Assemblies to efficiently discharge their responsibilities in promoting and enhancing service delivery to the people.

Mr Oppong-Fosu made this known at the Southern Sector orientation workshop of the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP) of the Urban Development Grant (UDG) for Metropolitan and Municipal Chief’s Executives and Coordinating Directors at Apam in the Central Region.

He said Government mobilises financial resources as a discretionary funding incentive to support Assemblies who comply with rules, legal regulations and policies in the performance of their mandate.

Mr Oppong-Fosu said the compliance is confirmed through an assessment conducted on yearly basis using the Functional Organisational Assessment Tool.

He said the overall objective of the introduction of the performance-based grant is to ensure efficient provision of basic community infrastructure and service delivery through judicious use of resources.

He said Government in collaboration with the World Bank in 2011 developed the LGCSP with a new performance-based grant called UDG, which was to show commitment towards the decentralisation process.

Mr Oppong-Fosu said the UDG has an indicative budget of 140 million dollars spanning five years and available to 46 Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies which were in existence in 2011.

He said the implementation is very similar to the DDF in terms of accessibility and utilisation of resources.

He noted that under the UDG project, the capacity of Assemblies are  being built through training and retraining in Project Management, Procurement, Financial Management, Environmental and Social Safeguards.

Mr Samuel Sarpong, Regional Minister thanked the World Bank and the Local Government Ministry for the bold initiatives, which seeks to address some of the fundamental problems associated with urban development and management.

He told the beneficiary Assemblies that one of the key elements of the policy thrust is the involvement of local communities and opinion leaders, traditional authorities, religious groups and non-state actors in the urban development process.

Mr Sarpong said this calls for greater accountability and transparency to take on board all identifiable stakeholders in the local development process.

Mrs Levina Owusu, Project Director of LGCSP advised the Assemblies to follow the right procurement procedures in the utilisation of the fund.

She also appealed to the Assemblies to return their annual reports of the funds to their various Regional Coordinating Councils to avoid delays in the submission of the general report to the World Bank.

Source: GNA

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