General News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Source: Joseph ALLOTEY-KPAKPOE
The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC) on Decentralization organized series of regional stakeholder sensitization programmes on the new Local Governance Act (2016), Act 936 from 12th June 2017 to 21st June, 2017.
The Act was passed and given assent on 20th December, 2016 to harmonize the various fragmented legal instruments into a single properly-aligned and user-friendly document. It acknowledges the paradigm shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance’ in order to reflect the modern trends in democratic governance and participatory development.
It among others situates local governance in accordance with the 1992 Constitution; establishes the Local Government Service; provides for the establishment and administration of the District Assemblies Common Fund; delivers a National Development Planning System; defines and regulates planning procedures of District Assemblies; and seeks to co-ordinate, facilitate, monitor and supervise internal audit activities within District Assemblies.
Yet, many stakeholders do not have sufficient information and knowledge about the Act. Consequently, the 10 regional programmes were organized to among others raise the awareness of stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations/Non-Governmental Organizations, Persons with Disabilities, Youth and Women Groups, Traditional Authorities, Political (Assembly Members) and Staff of MMDAs. Overall, Nine Hundred and Eighty (980) people were covered.
Mr. Salifu Mahama, the Acting Executive Secretary of IMCC, in addressing the participants at the opening ceremony at ILGS, Accra Campus, stated that there have been efforts to realise the constitutional provision of making decentralization a reality, as evidenced in the various legal reforms and institutional arrangements being undertaken in the sector. These included the establishment of the IMCC, and the development of the National Decentralization Policy Framework and Action Plan (2015-2019).
He emphasised that critical to all these processes was the passage of the Local Governance Act (2016), Act 936. He mentioned that the consolidation of these laws will facilitate reference to local governance and decentralisation issues.
The Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr. Dadson Awunyo-Vitor in addressing the participants in Koforidua, acknowledged that the Law generally seeks to harmonize the disjointed legal instruments that used to govern the administration of local governance in Ghana into a single document, it offers greater autonomy to MMDAs to effectively plan development in their respective jurisdictions and addresses conflicting powers and duplication of functions at the local level.
The resource persons from the Institute used the sessions to compare and contrast the new Law with previous laws, policies and programmes.
They emphasized key portions of it and how they impact the decentralization process and the activities of local governance stakeholders vis a vis the development initiatives of the government (e.g. ‘One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam, Planting for Food and Jobs, etc).
The organizers used the platforms to collect feedback from the participants on aspects of the Law that would require review in the future.
Some participants seated during one of the sessions