As part of efforts to deepen the participation of citizens in the local governance system, a Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) project has been launched in the Ejisu Juaben Municipal Assembly by the Centre for the Development of the People (CEDEP), a Kumasi based civil society organisation.
The Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability, which is part of the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP), is aimed at improving citizen’s perception of urban management and increase active citizen engagement in the development process of their metropolitan and municipal areas.
The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV-Ghana) was contracted by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to facilitate and provide consultancy services towards the implementation of SPEFA in 46 metropolitan and municipal assemblies across the country.
Speaking prior to the launch of the project, the Executive Director of Centre for the Development of the People, Mr. Patrick Amoateng Mensah, said his organisation has over the past one year implemented the SPEFA project in the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) with greater success seen in the participation of citizens in the governance process.
He said as an implementing partner CEDEP will also oversee the implementation of SPEFA in the Ejisu Juaben and Asante Akyem Central Municipal Assemblies over a two year period to build the capacity of citizens of these areas on social financial management.
Mr. Amoateng Mensah said SPEFA is also aimed at ensuring that duty bearers are accountable to the citizens and it also serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas between the citizens and people in public offices.
The Health Programme Manager at CEDEP, Mrs. Aba Oppong, said social accountability improves governance through participation and transparency, financial efficiency, poverty reduction, improved services delivery and empowerment for wealth creation.
She said it is important for the citizens to demand to know how the public purse is used, but she advised citizens not to react wrongfully based on wrong information and not to also act on hear-say and unsubstantiated allegations.
“The more the people understand social accountability the less helpless they will feel whenever crisis develops” she said. “We at CEDEP want to educate the people to represent themselves” she added.
The Ejisu Juaben Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr. Louis Kwame Bayor, who launched the Social Public Expenditure and Financial project on behalf of the Municipal Chief Executive called on citizens to play active roles in the governance of their communities and stop offering criticisms whiles sitting on the fence.
He said people should demand accountability from duty bearers and questions on how public funds are used should also be asked.
Mr. Bayor said institutions are responsible to the people and it is about time people became assertive and demand transparency. “Please let us demand to know, that is how Ghana should move” he adds.
The launch of the Social Public Expenditure and Financial project at the assembly hall of the Ejisu Juaben Municipal Assembly was well attended by traditional authorities, religious groups, civil society organisations, assembly members, persons with disability, youth groups, and other trade associations.
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