IDEG urges government to release DACF on time

By
Gideon D. Ebbah, GNA
      

Effiduase (Ash), Sept 25, GNA – The Institute
of Democratic Governance (IDEG) has made a passionate appeal to the government
to release the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) on time to ensure early
completion of development projects in rural communities.

Mr. Ewald Quaye Garr, Acting Programme Lead
for Civic Empowerment for Community Action (CECA) at the IDEG, who made the
appeal said, the habitual delays in the release of the fund had hindered the
completion of infrastructural projects, which had been designed by the district
assemblies to improve the living conditions of the people.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, after a
tour of some development projects in the Sekyere East district, Mr Garr,
pointed out that most development projects such as road networks, health
facilities, school buildings among others, which were been constructed by
districts assemblies across the country had halted due to lack of funds.

The tour which was conducted jointly with the
Governance Issues Forum Network (GIFNeT), the district assembly and other key
stakeholders was to monitor the progress of work on some selected ongoing
development projects in seven cocoa growing communities in the district.

It was part of a project being implemented by
IDEG in collaboration with the Mondelez International Cocoa Life Programme to
build the capacities of people in cocoa growing communities to actively
participate in local governance and influence decision making.

As part of the project, IDEG has instituted
the GIFNet in selected cocoa growing communities in the district as a framework
for promoting participatory bottom-up democracy in Ghana and also empowering
citizens to participate in the making of public policy decisions at the local
levels.

The communities visited were Ntunkumso,
Motokrodua, Okaikrom, Odukrom, Ahensan, Apemso and Mahinso.

They inspected works on facilities such as
Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS), classroom blocks,
mechanized boreholes and others, which were being implemented by the district
assembly with part of its share of DACF.

Mr. Garr said, the participatory monitoring
was part of activities aimed at strengthening citizens’ engagement and influence
in the effective and efficient utilization of government resources.

He added that it was also necessary to enhance
social accountability, transparency, trust and mutual commitment and
responsibilities on the side of both community members and their duty bearers.

Touching on the current state of the
development projects visited, Mr. Garr expressed worry about the delays and
deplorable state of infrastructure and basic amenities in cocoa growing
communities.

He noted that in spite of the importance of
cocoa to national development, cocoa growing communities were among the poorest
communities in the country, with very little or no basic social and economic
infrastructure.

Mr. Garr urged the government to prioritize
infrastructure development in cocoa growing communities to improve and sustain
cocoa production, and also ensure prompt release of the DACF to speed up
infrastructure development in underserved communities.

He however, commended the district assembly
for improvement on the road network in the area and encouraged the GIFNet and
community members to take responsibility for the development of their
communities.

Mr. Dennis Nabare, the District Planning
Officer commended IDEG for the initiative and urged community members to
maintain their cooperation and engagement with the district assembly for
sustainable development.

Mr. Aikins Harvery, GIFNeT chairman for the
district and a native of the Ahensan, a farming community, said the
participatory monitoring provided the opportunity for citizens to know how
public funds were being utilized.

He called on the government and all
stakeholders to respond to the development needs of cocoa growing communities
to accord the people a decent standard of living as a motivation to increase
and sustain cocoa production in the country.

GNA

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