‘Strengthen accountability mechanism to increase openness in local govt’

Assembly Members and staff of Assemblies have been challenged to strengthen the accountability mechanism to increase openness in local government.

They have also been tasked to deepen the citizenry supervision of capital projects within their communities towards sustenance of probity, transparency and accountability.

Samuel Addai Boateng, Deputy Chief of Party, Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanism, (GSAM), threw the challenge at a training workshop for assembly members, employees, and auditors from six Municipal and District Assemblies in the Eastern Region on ‘Public Relations and Complaints Committees’ to enhance their participation in effective and efficient local administration.

The training was under GSAM, which aimed to increase local government openness and accountability by strengthening citizens’ supervision of capital projects in 100 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and also improve understanding of participants to make the Committee more functional for enhanced engagement in social and capital project probity, transparency and accountability.

The workshop was under the auspices of Care International in Koforidua, in collaboration withthe Institute for Social Development (ISODEC) and other civil society organisations, with financing from the United States Agency in Development (USAID).

According to Mr Boateng, over the eight years of GSAM implementation, several critical flaws had been detected that needed to be addressed to ensure the project’s overall success and identified low public engagement owing to lack of awareness of the various assemblies’ activities or governance structure as one of the major concerns.

“The MMDA’s reaction and documentation of concerns in terms of citizen grievances and complaints management are extremely poor, hence the training to enhance participants’ understanding to respond appropriately and eschew negative tendencies to paint a bad picture of governments.

“So far the mechanism has educated and sensitised more than 200,000 residents on capital projects, allowing them to monitor and review quality of progress and development initiatives in their areas so as to deepen probity, transparency and accountability,” Mr Boateng assured.

Samuel Donkor, the Chief Director of Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, a facilitator at the workshop, observed that the Committee was one of two primary in the MMDAs, created to handle peoples concerns and complaints against government officials such as chief executives and assembly members, rather than remedy staff transgressions or administrative errors.

“The Local Government Act 936 (sections 26 and 27) states the committees led by Presiding Members, and all other members must be chosen by the assembly rather than hand-picked, as has been the case,” he disclosed and recommended to participants, particularly assembly members, to study the Local Government Act to be able to operate effectively, efficiently and strengthen local governance system. -GNA

Show More
Back to top button