Workshop on participatory planning opens

Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies (MMDAs) have been urged to encourage citizens to take active part in planning development activities.

That, according to the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, would help to develop policies that would benefit the people directly.

He indicated that although there was an argument about time and cost of public engagement, the benefits were invaluable and urged MMDAs to engage all stakeholders in their activities to ensure sustainable development in the Greater Accra Region and the country. 

Mr Afotey Agbo said this on Tuesday when he opened a two-day workshop on dissemination of framework for participatory planning and budgeting for MMDAs in the  Greater Accra Region.

The workshop, which was organised by the Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinating Council, was attended by planning, budgeting and development and social welfare officers from the 16 MMDAs within the region.

Funded by the European Union (EU), the workshop aimed at disseminating a framework to help the MMDAs to effectively engage the various stakeholders in the planning and budgeting processes within the assemblies, especially during the preparation of the medium-term plan for 2014-2017. 

  Advantages of citizen participation 
‘Full participation in the MMDAs will go long way to enhance our choice of policies and alternatives, thereby prioritising policies that would satisfy the citizenry and create spaces that could later be used for checks and balances’, he said. 

He also noted public participation would reinforce accountability in programmes and initiatives by the MMDAs. 

  Purpose of decentralisation
In a presentation, the Greater Accra Regional Economic Planning Officer, Mr George Gyapani Ackah, said public participation was very significant to ensure effective decentralisation in the country.

According to him, one of the aims of decentralisation was to engage the people in development activities so that their interest would be paramount in policies introduced by the assemblies. 

‘If we sit in our offices and design something for them without their involvement, we will defeat the purpose of providing facilities that will be accepted by them,’ he ssaid.

Mr Ackah expressed the hope that the framework would guide the MMDAs to involve the citizens in the planning, designing, implementation and evaluation of policies that affected their lives.

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