Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Julius Debrah, says over dependence on central government by the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) for funding development projects has become a worry.
He said although the Ministry expects MMDAs to generate local revenue to fund their activities, they have challenges with location of revenue points and the establishment of revenue potential.
Mr Debrah made the observation when he opened the 66th Annual New Year School at the University of Ghana on the theme: “Improving The Performance Of Local Government System In The Era Of E-governance.”
The weeklong school is being organised by the Department of Adult Education and Human Resource Studies, School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana and sponsored by Airtel Ghana.
About 200 participants from the academia, industry, government and non-governmental organisations are discussing topics including the state of local government reforms and the role of e-governance, fiscal decentralisation: managing resources through e-governance.
Others are social accountability and citizens’ participation, using e-platform for knowledge and information dissemination, roles of various actors in promoting effective local governance using e-resources and sustainable decentralisation goals.
Mr Debrah noted that the situation had created an issue for the establishment of systematic processes of tracking performance in local revenue collection.
He expressed conviction that the discussion on the automation of local revenue generation and the recommendations generated from the school would assist the Ministry in shaping its course of action and development of an effective and efficient local government system.
He also expressed the hope that the school would go a long way in complementing the Ministry’s efforts in achieving one of its strategic areas of focus: “Decentralisation and Empowerment of Assemblies.”
Mr Debrah noted that the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is providing leadership in the application of ICTs in the public sector and in government’s administration information and services delivery to improve national development.
All regional capitals have therefore been fully linked to ICT connectivity and plans are underway to connect all district capitals in the country and NITA is creating a data centre for all MMDAs.
He said e-governance has the tendency to solve numerous administrative challenges including data storage and management and facilitate decision making in local governance as well as revenue mobilisation and the effective management of resources by the MMDAs.
He said to promote good governance in local governance, it is important for emphasis to be placed on social accountability and citizen participation.
Mr Debrah said the Ministry has created a social accountability unit that seeks to improve citizen’s engagement with urban assemblies and their perception of urban management.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana said discussions at the School would go a long way to contribute to national development.
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