Twenty-two communities drawn from the Donkro-Nkwanta Zonal Council have met at Donkro-Nkwanta in the Nkoranza South Municipality to take part in a budgeting process as part of the Local Government Accountability Project being championed by the Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), an NGO.
The exercise aimed at strengthening the relationship between the grassroots and local government authorities.
The participatory budgeting session at Donkro-Nkwanta afforded the communities the opportunity to make budgetary provisions for the Donkro-Nkwanta Zonal Council Office, which had not been operationalised since its construction a couple of years ago.
Office furniture, stationery and other items which would facilitate the smooth running of the Zonal Office were captured in the budget to enable the office to be operational in 2020.
The Programmes Director of ACA, Ruby Osei Kyei-Baffour, in an interview said ACA had also constituted Citizens Committee Network in four communities, namely; Kyeredeso, Nwoase, Donkro-Nkwanta and Salamkrom to spearhead the planning and execution of development projects in the area.
Madam Kyei-Baffour noted the time had come for local governance and development to be placed at the doorsteps of community members.
“It’s about time that we accepted the new wind of change that is happening. That people want to take development into their own hands. Let us embrace this new system that is coming up and then we can do our assessment and compare the difference between the new system of local government which is participatory and the old system which was not participatory,” Madam Kyei-Baffour indicated.
Madam Kyei-Baffour added that ACA in collaboration with the four communities have begun a community-driven development project called the Facilitators Collective Action Process through which the communities have come out with their own priority areas for development and have initiated some projects.
She disclosed that ACA was assisting the Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly to develop a software for revenue mobilisation, which would make the process paperless and curtail leakages in the assembly’s Internally Generated Funds (IGF).
According to her, the software, which was expected to be launched somewhere in February next year, would also ensure accountability and deepen local governance while contributing to development at the grassroots level.
Mr Abdul Aziz, the Assistant Budget Officer of the Nkoranza Municipal Assembly, commended ACA for taking steps to keep the communities abreast of their roles and responsibilities in relation to participatory budgeting saying, this would go a long way to make the Zonal Council functional and eliminate revenue leakages.
He encouraged the community members to religiously honour their tax obligations to facilitate development in the area.
The Advocates for Community Alternatives programme partners with communities in West Africa to explore development alternatives that are not dependent on mining and carbon extraction.
From Daniel Dzirasah