Low participation in local governance a concern – CDD

Politics of Thursday, 10 December 2015

Source: GNA

The Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has expressed worry over the low participation in the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) planning process.

It said this denies the people the right to make the needed inputs for local development.

Mr Paul Osei-Kuffour, Programmes Manager of the CDD-Ghana, who presented a research report on the National Development Planning Commission’s (NDPC) guidelines on the medium term development plans of the MMDAs, said 70 per cent of the MMDAs did not hold the mandatory public hearings.

He said this during a validation workshop on enhancing civil society monitoring of medium term development plans of the Assemblies.

The report was based on interviews conducted in 40 MMDAs across the country with 20 key informant interviews and 800 other respondents sampled for interviews.

The monitoring report was conducted in 2014 by the CDD-Ghana in collaboration with the Support for Decentralization Reforms of the German Agency for International Corporation.

Mr Osei-Kuffour said the delay in the issuance of the planning guidelines by the NDPC had a negative impact on planning as it undermines the relevance of the process.

“Majority of MMDAs held performance review sessions but with very low representation by women…participants were largely limited to secondary stakeholders contrary to primary beneficiaries such as the poor, marginalized and ordinary citizens”, he said.

He said there was the need for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to interrogate the findings to ensure that it was incorporated into the Consolidated Local Government Bill.

Mr Osei-Kuffour said the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) must be resourced enough to assist in sensitizing the populace on government projects and policies as well as to engage citizens on participatory governance.

Mr Damma Mumuni, Principal Development Planning Officer at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, said there were challenges facing the MMDAs in involving citizens in the planning process.

He blamed the situation on the non-adherence to policy directions by the higher authorities at the MMDAs noting that in most cases, the Planning Units of the MMDAs was constrained by funding.