Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr Kodjo Asseim Mensah-Abrampah, says the time for a national conversation about the democratic nature of Ghana’s local governance structure is now.
To him, the current structure which limits accountability to the governed and shuts the door on competition as to who governs the local area has left many qualified indigenes out of development conversations.
“The appropriate time for discussions and advancing Democratic Developmental Local Government (DDLG) is now”, he said at the 5th graduation ceremony at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in Accra on Saturday.
“The success of DDLG taking roots in the country will depend on both local political leadership and professional civil servants who are developmentally driven and committed to investing local governance finance in economic transformation and development”, he added.
According to him, the model promoted participation and open governance which underpinned the social contract between local governors and residents; hence subjecting their performance to the scrutiny of the people.
“Developmental local governance are based on the performance of elected chief executives whose stay in power is dependent on the social benefits of the economic investments they enabled and able to engender,” Dr Mensah-Abrampah stressed.
A Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, said after 30 years of running the current local governance policy, it was time MMDAs were re-invented to deliver quality service to improve the lives of the people.
He announced that the next formula for the allocation of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) would include provision for the Assembly Members Electoral Area Development Fund (AMEADEF) under which “a percentage of the DACF will be allocated to support Assembly Members’ community-initiated development projects”.
Director of ILGS, Dr Nicholas Awortwi, said his outfit had developed a five-year strategic plan to turn the Institute to a “Centre of Excellence in knowledge creation in local governance and transformation”.
“We have started rebranding the identity, image and organisational culture of the Institute and particularly staff’s orientation towards transformation. Our aspiration is that by 2023 the ILGS will become an independent degree awarding tertiary institution called University of Local Governance Studies”.
The graduation ceremony on the theme “Advancing Democratic Developmental Local Governance in Ghana: The Role of Academia” saw 145 students graduate with Masters Degrees in Local Economic Development, Local Government Financial Management, Local Government Administration and Organisation and Environmental Science , Policy and Management.