Politics of Monday, 5 January 2015
SEND-Ghana has called on Government to ensure timely disbursement of funds to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enable appropriate completion and implementation of projects.
The recommendation is in SEND Ghana’s latest report, which assessed the contribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund to development in communities.
Dubbed: “Bringing Development to the Doorsteps of Citizens,” the report discovered that untimely transfer of funds to MMDAs is a major cause of delays in the completion of projects.
Presenting the findings of the report, Ms Clara Osei-Boateng, Director of Policy Programmes, SEND-Ghana said almost 45.7 per cent of 416 projects initiated by the assemblies from 2010 to 2013, were not completed on time due to delayed funds transfer.
Besides, delayed project inspection by the assemblies, bureaucracy in awarding contracts and deliberate frustration of contractors to make them offer bribes are other causes of the inability of the MMDAs to complete their projects.
“The delay in transfer of funds alone, accounts for 43.1 percent of projects that were not completed on time,” she said.
The research established that 94.6 per cent of projects executed by the assemblies such as schools and health centres are in use and have had significant impact on their communities.
However, poor location of facilities, delay in handing over for use and inaccessibility to persons with disabilities have been noted as the reasons for the non-use of completed projects.
The study also found out that projects that were planned in consultation with assembly members were more successful in contrast with those that were done in consultation with government’s medium-term development plans, partly because resources get diverted for other politically expedient projects.
SEND-Ghana believes that local development would be enhanced if the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and the District Assemblies Common Fund Secretariat ensure that funds are made available to the assemblies on time.
The group is also recommending resourcing of assembly members to enhance consultations with their electoral areas, improved project monitoring, community participation and greater consideration for disabled persons in accordance with the “Persons with Disability Act 2006”.
Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer, SEND-West Africa, who commented on the report said issues of accountability and transparency are not only in the domain of civil society organisations and urged the media to play a key role.
He said Ghana would be better when citizens could ensure that duty-bearers were made to account for their stewardship.
Mr Kamara called on Government to introduce policies that institutionalise equity across board to ensure that no one is excluded from the opportunities that exist for all.