The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Dan Botwe, has reiterated the government’s commitment to bring improved governance, development and services to the door steps of the public in its efforts to promote accountability and transparency.
He said it was for this reason that Ghana adopted and embarked on decentralisation as a major vehicle for accelerating development across the country.
The minister gave the assurance yesterday in a speech read on his behalf at the Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanism (GSAM) activity close out conference in Accra.
GSAM is a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project seeking to improve accountability at the local government level by strengthening both the government and citizens’ oversight of capital development projects in 100 districts.
According to the minister, the years of GSAM implementation had seen significant contributions to transformational behavioural changes in accountability within the local government sector.
He mentioned that GSAM had also strengthened the capacity of civil society to advocate, monitor and investigate efforts of the primary actors, particularly Municipal and Metropolitan District Assemblies (MMDAs), to ensure sustainability, accountability and inclusive delivery of quality services to the citizenry.
These interventions, Mr Botwe said, had improved responsiveness of MMDAs to citizens’ demands, and efficiency in the management and implementation of development projects within communities working in close collaboration with stakeholders.
“Our commitment as a ministry and government to improve accountability and transparency is unwavering, as GSAM ends, we look forward to working with all partners to build on the lessons learnt to improve local governance, development and service delivery to our people,” he added.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Chairperson, Star Ghana Foundation, in her remarks, said interventions like GSAM provided Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) opportunities to initiate action, collect data, build capacities, engage district level authorities and back communities to exact accountability.
She mentioned that strengthening information dissemination, complaints mechanisms, grievance handling processes and feedback resources were essential part of responding to citizens.
She, therefore, called on CSOs to play watch-dog, facilitating, mediating and advocacy roles to bridge the gaps between performance and accountability, while fostering the uptake of available opportunities.
Local governance, Dr Ofei-Aboagye said, must be re-branded to emphasise its service responsibilities and obligations to the citizenry and residents.