Centre for Local GOVERNANCE ADVOCACY

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Ghana practices a local governance system that stems from central government formally ceding powers to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) at the lower levels of governance.


Ghana practices a local governance system that stems from central government formally ceding powers to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) at the lower levels of governance. Ghana’s contemporary advent on decentralization dates back to 1988 with the Local Government Law (PNDC Law 207). The aim of the 1988 Local Government Law was “to promote popular participation and ownership of the machinery of government by devolving power, competence and resource/means to the district level”. Three main types of decentralization are commonly identified in Ghana include:

Administrative decentralization or de-concentration i.e. the re-location of branches of the central state to local areas, entailing a transfer of powers to locally-based officials who remain part of, and upwardly accountable to, central government ministries and agencies;

Fiscal decentralization i.e. the transfer of fiscal resources and revenue-generating powers, inclusive of authority over budgets and financial decisions, to either de-concentrated officials and/or central government appointees or to elected politicians;                    

Political decentralization or democratic decentralization or devolution (of power) i.e. the transfer of powers and resources to sub-national authorities which are “largely or wholly independent of the central government and democratically elected.

The mandates, roles and responsibilities of MMDAs in this direction are enshrined in the Constitution, the Local Government Act and other enabling legislations on Local Government. The roles and responsibilities of MMDAs have been expanded over the years with MMDAs established as the pivot of political, administrative and development planning decision-making in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

It is our firm belief that properly functioning local government are key to Ghana’s development considering the developmental mandates assigned to local governments by the Constitution and other legislations. CLGA believes that promoting efficient and effective local governance is necessary in bringing to fruition the many benefits of the practice of decentralization and local governance.




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