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THE EXPIRATION OF THE MORATORIUM PROVISIONS UNDER GHANA’S DISABILITY ACT OF 2006 , WHERE DOES GHANA STAND.


The plight of Ghana’s disabled population have not been different and have received very little attention over the years until the late 1980s with the coming into existence of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) then Federation of Disabled Associations (FDA) established in 1987 as a national umbrella organization of Persons With Disability (PWDs). The Federation was birthed to create awareness about the capacities and capabilities and to promote the equalization of opportunities of PWD’s through advocacy, lobbying and collaboration with other relevant agencies.

Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees the rights of the disabled and explicitly authorizes Parliament to enact legislations to protect these right but it was not, until 2006 when Parliament passed the Disability Act (Act, 715). The first schedule protects persons with disabilities against regulations and the treatment of discriminatory or abusive promotion of all other basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled. The Act seeks to provide PWDs with their full rights as citizens by making additional and special provisions and eliminating all forms of discriminations against PWDs all in a bid to create an enabling environment for the full participation of PWDs in national life.

Interestingly, the ten (10) year moratorium as provided for under Section 60 of the Act states that “the owner or occupier of an existing building to which the public has access shall within ten years of the commencement of this Act make that building accessible to and available for use by a person with disability” is due to expire in 2016 and has raised questions on Ghana’s preparedness to comply with Section 60 of the Act .

All buildings which have been in existence before the coming into effect of the Act would after 2016 contravene Section 6 of the Act which states that: “The owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a person with disability” and if any public services are provided in such places also contravene Section 7 of the act which states that: “A person who provides service to the public shall put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a person with disability”. Most buildings in the country have however not undergone any changes to make them disability friendly. A review of banks, schools, churches, public places of convenience among many others reveal that little has been done to comply with the provisions of the Act.

The National Council on Persons with Disability established under the Act is established with the object of proposing and evolving policies and strategies to enable persons with disability enter and participate in the mainstream of the national development process.

The Council is to monitor and evaluate disability policies and programmes; formulate 25 4 t h EDITION THE DECENTRALIZATION EYE

strategies f or broad-based inter-sectoral, interdisciplinary involvement and participation in the implementation of the national disability policy; produce an organizational manual on the operations of the Council and its secretariat; coordinate disability activities; advise the Ministry on disability issues and submit to the Minister proposals for appropriate legislation on disability; mobilize resources for the attainment of its object; coordinate activities of organizations of persons with disability, and international organizations and nongovernmental organizations that deal with disability; promote studies and research on issues of disability and provide education and information to the public on issues of disability; maintain a register of (i) persons with disability, and (ii) institutions, organizations and associations which provide rehabilitation, services or support for persons with disability; play an advocacy role on disability issues at all levels; and perform other functions that are necessary for the attainment of its object.

Questions are being asked about the efficacy of the National Disability Council in operationalizing its constitutional mandate to better the lot of PWDs. The Act also makes provision for the establishment of regional and district offices of the Council (under Section 49) to perform the functions of the Council in the regions or districts. What steps are being taken to ensure the decentralization of the Council to bring real time benefit of these provisions to PWDs?




CLGA COMMENTARY ON THE 2015 BUDGET STATEMENT AND ECONOMIC POLICY OF GHANA


Introduction
Ghana’s Decentralization policy aims at transferring functions, powers, responsibilities and resources to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana.  Under Article 240(2) (a), of the 1992 Constitution, MMDAs are created and established by a specific Legislative Instrument (L.I) as the highest political and administrative authority in a given area of jurisdiction.

As has been the practice, the Minister for Finance presented the 2015 Economic Policy and Budget Statement of Ghana to Parliament in November 2014.

The Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) congratulates the government and people of Ghana for the 2015  Budget . The Budget is on the theme ‘Transformational Agenda: Securing the Bright Medium Term Prospects of the Economy with some practical provisions to propel development’.

Despite the above good provisions, the CLGA has reviewed the 2015 Budget in the context of decentralization implementation in Ghana and has produced the following commentary below. The commentary looks at the strengths of the budget and provides opinions and advises on ways to facilitate decentralization implementation in Ghana during the 2015 fiscal year.

Decentralization Strengths of the 2015 Budget
In the view of the CLGA, the strengths of the 2015 Budget in the context of decentralization and local governance are as follows;
  1. The Budget makes provision for the integration of the districts composite budgets into the national budget. The introduction of composite budget has injected fiscal discipline in the management of MMDAs in Ghana through the introduction  of the ‘Warrant System’;
  2. The Budget in promoting budget transparency and accountability indicated under Appendices (B and D, a medium term projected IGF of all MMDAs to be mobilized in 2015 together with the accompanying expenditure to be financed out of the   Internally Generated Fund (IGF);
  3. The Budget makes provision for the government to continue to support the implementation of the Street-naming and House Numbering Projects within the MMDAs;
  4. The Budget also makes provision for the resuscitation of the draft  Local Government Finance Bill to support harmonization of MMDAs fund mobilization process ( including borrowing and issuance of municipal bonds);
  5. The Budget sets a projected overall GDP (incl. oil) growth rate of 3.9 percent in 2015. This is a realistic growth rate which in the opinion of the CLGA is achievable;
  6. The swift manner in which decentralized structures  were created and  resources made available for their management and national response to  the Ebola epidemic in Ghana  is  highly commendable;
  7. The Budget also mentioned the finalization of the national medium term development plan, Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDAII), with the vision of Government which is ‘A stable, united, inclusive and prosperous country with opportunities for all’. This is a welcoming news;
  8. The Budget also makes provision for the organization of the local and unit level elections ;
  9. The Budget also provides for a citizens budget which is an abridged version of the national budget. This promotes budget transparency and effective accountability since the abridged one is in six (6) languages- English, Twi, Dagbani, Nzema, Ewe and Ga;
  10. For the first time the 2015 Budget made a categorical statement on the national adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS) and the fact that the Auditor- General has issued a qualification on the public accounts of Ghana necessitating the urgent need to adopt IPSAS in order to comply with international best practices for public sector reporting;
  11. The streamlining of Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) to ensure an automation of Ghana’s public sector  financial management system as well as the extension of same to  all MMDAs are important key milestones in improving Public Financial Management ( PFM);
  12. The holistic adoption of the Programme Based Budgeting (PBB) System for all MMDAs as well as streamlining their budgeting systems is worthy of commendation;
  13. The application of the ‘automatic adjusted formula’ to price petroleum products is also worth commending;
  14. The adoption of improved resource mobilization systems for MMDAS and rationalization of public expenditure are two ways of ensuring fiscal sanity in the public sector of Ghana.
Improving the 2015 Budget Implementation for Effective Decentralization

Aside the benefits above , the CLGA wish to provide the following professional commentary on the budget to improve implementation for enhanced decentralized governance in Ghana as follows;

Development of Abridged Budget

On development of Abridge Budget, it is not enough to develop an abridged version of the budget in six(6) different local languages. Government is advised to take further steps to ensure that these documents are properly disseminated  in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education( NCCE) and the respective MMDAS to enable citizens better understand the budget , improve budget transparency and effective social accountability.

On the Adoption of IPSAS

Under Paragraphs 819-821, the budget provides for the adoption of IPSAS by Ghana. The CLGA is of the view that the national level must run in parallel with the MMDAs in the adoption of IPSAS to enhance total credibility in financial reporting.

On IGF Mobilization

Under Paragraph 804-905, the budget provides for IGF Mobilization and the Local Government Finance Bill. The CLGA is of the view that, this is a good move but the MMDAs financial reporting systems must be reconfigured and improved to facilitate adequate integration of their assets for improved liquidity to support borrowing. Compliance with IPSAS is the solution. The draft Local Government Finance Bill comes with various innovations:
  • applies to MMDAs  and entities  to be set-up by them to provide specific services;
  • provides  revenue sources which are a departure from the  itemized sources contained under schedule 4,5 and 6 of the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462.
All the above will come to nothing if we do not synchronize all intergovernmental transfers with the annual budget guidelines / ceilings and budget calendar.

On Financing the Management of Waste

Under Paragraph 880 of the budget, provision has been made for financing the management of waste. It is the view of the CLGA that there is nothing in the budget for the sustenance of the newly introduced National Sanitation Day. Again, what has become of the establishment of ‘Plastic Waste Recycling Fund’ required to be established under the Customs and Excise (Duties and Other Taxes) (Amendment) Act, 2013, Act 863. Under the above Act provision was made for the plastic recycling fund to be funded from 50% of the 10% ex-factory price as excise duty on Plastic and Plastic Products listed under Chapters 39 and 63 of the Harmonized System and Customs Tariff Schedules of 2012. CLGA calls for the establishment of the proposed Plastic Waste Recycling Fund if not already established.

On Re-registration of Vehicles

Under Paragraph 837, the budget provides for the re-registration of government vehicles, which is one of the best things to happen to Ghana. The CLGA is of the view that, this must be extended to the MMDAs to help properly monitor and manage their assets. Presently, the assets registers of most of our MMDAs do not provide the required information to support effective asset management including vehicles.

On Alignment of Statutory Funds Expenditure to National Policies and Priorities

Under Paragraph 852, the budget provides for aligning Statutory Fund Expenditure to National Policies and Priorities. However, CLGA is of the view that, this is what the composite budget and planning guidelines are expected to be doing. This harmonization is important for proper plan coordination and budget implementation discipline. By the above, the supplementary budget of MMDAs for the DACF may not differ from their budget for utilizing the DDF and the UDG. We need harmonization. This means the 2015 District Assemblies Common Fund utilization guidelines must be synchronized with the guidelines for DDF and UDG utilization guidelines.

On Deepening GIFMIS Implementation in Ghana

The continuous deepening of GIFMIS is in the right direction. CLGA wish to encourage government to fast-track the process and ensure that GIFMIS is extended to all MMDAs before the roll-out of IPSAS. Government is advised to also reduce its overdependence on development partners in the implementation of GIFMIS as any delay in the release of funds may have dire consequences on the process.

On Costing of the   GSGDA II

The completion of the GSGDA II based on which the budget was prepared is a welcoming news. However, CLGA will encourage government to take steps to complete a full costing of the GSGDA II as was done for the successor document GSGDA I. By this , it gives the nation a fair idea of the total costs to be incurred in  implementation of the national development plan over the GSGDA period for effective budgeting .

On Ensuring Budget Implementation Discipline

Though the need for fiscal prudence and budget implementation disciplines has been mentioned in a number of advice documents to governments such as Senchi Consensus and the recent IMF Mission to Ghana Report, the 2015 Budget shows little commitment to attaining this. The CLGA wish to reiterate this and encourage government to ensure fiscal discipline in the budget implementation process. By this, Government is encouraged  not to  allow political expediency to override economic efficiency in the management of the 2015 budget.

On Improved Resource Mobilization

Increased resource mobilization is one area the budget dwelt so much on. CLGA wish to encourage government to continue to step up efforts at increasing resource mobilization by not only widening the tax network but also improving the tax collection systems and motivating officers and agencies responsible for tax collection. Tax mobilization projections have more often than not been understated, leading to early announcement of exceeding targets; yet these are not reflected in making such funds available for development. This must be improved with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) taking a lead role in this initiative.

On Development of IGF Strategic Guidelines

Again, the organization of the National Conference on IGF is critical but the IGF Strategic Guidelines which were developed out of the Conference must be approved for implementation in order to  guide the MMDAs in the mobilization and utilization of IGFs.

On Streamlining Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) Mobilization and Management

Streamlining improvement in mobilization and management of Non-Tax Revenue will be key in the implementation of the 2015 Budget. Government has given more prominence to the mobilization of tax revenue to the detriment of Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) for both MDA and MMDAs. However, growing NTR is a condition for improved total national revenue. Though an NTR unit exists at the MoF, there is no national NTR policy. Going forward, CLGA wishes to advise government to give priority to grow NTR by developing and operationalizing a national NTR policy to rationalize, grow and ensure efficiency in the management of NTR.

On Resourcing the National Pensions Regulatory Act (NPRA)

The operationalization of the National Pensions Regulatory Act which sets up the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) is one area government need to keep an eye on. This is most important because of the current discussions around the management of the second tier pensions systems. CLGA calls on government to properly resource and capacitate the NPRA under the budget to properly perform its functions required by the Act so that public sector workers including Civil and Local Government Workers (CLOSAG) will continue to enjoy their benefits on retirements.

On Rationalizing Social Protection Expenditure

The Budget also makes provision for various social protection expenditures. CLGA  agrees on the need for social protection interventions in a country like Ghana, but calls for a rationalization and harmonization of social protection expenditures to ensure coherence and proper targeting to avoid duplicity. This, CLGA is of the view that it would require a consolidated national social protection policy, to anchor and properly provide a policy and institutional framework to coordinate all social protection interventions in Ghana. The current fragmented and piecemeal approach to social protection interventions can affect the nation through duplication of cost and improper targeting. This has been part of the increasing public expenditure which can be reduced.

On Resuscitation of the Local Government Finance Bill and Development of the Capital Market to issue Municipal Bonds

The 2015 Budget also envisages the resuscitation of the Local Government Finance Bill to provide a framework for harmonizing local government financing. The CLGA cautions government to hasten slowly in the introduction of a Local Government Finance Bill (LGFB) especially if it will lead to local government borrowing through the issuance of municipal bonds. Though it is good to develop the capital markets of Ghana along those lines, care must be taken and ensure that IPSAS is fully adopted and extended to the local governments before operationalizing the Bill. This will introduce credibility in their financial reporting and meet especially the accrual basis of reporting required by Regulation 186 of the FAR (2004). The CLGA calls on government to fast-track the development of Ghana’s capital market to prepare the market to facilitate the issuance of municipal bond by MMDAs.

On the Use of ‘Automatic Adjustment System’  for Pricing Petroleum Products.

The benefit of applying the ‘automatic adjustment’ pricing formula for fuel is acknowledged, but government is advised to ensure that its two way benefit is attained; to the government when circumstances calls for price increases as a result of increase in petroleum products prices on the world market and a price reduction to benefit consumers when prices of petroleum fall at the world market.

On Segregation of Solid Waste

The Budget also provides for ‘A 3-way solid waste segregation programme’ was piloted within the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The programme is to ensure waste reduction, reuse and recycling to facilitate value addition to the waste we generate. It involves the provision of Green, Blue and Brown coloured bins to receive organic, plastic and paper wastes, respectively.  It also indicated that ‘in 2015, the programme will be rolled-out to all MDAs and MMDAs. In collaboration with the private sector, Community Buy-back Centres will be set-up to buy sorted materials to feed relevant domestic factories’.

What has become of the establishment of a ‘Plastic Waste Recycling Fund’ required to be established under the Customs and Excise (Duties and Other Taxes) (Amendment) Act,2013, Act 863. Sources of funds were to come from 50% of the 10% on the ex-factory  price as excise duty  on Plastic and Plastic Products listed under Chapters 39 and 63 of the Harmonized System and  Customs Tariff Schedules 2012. Let us establish the Plastic Waste Recycling Fund required by the Act if not already established to support the above.

On Registration of Births and Death

The Budget also provides under Paragraph 327 that, the Births and Deaths Registry will continue to register births and deaths whilst the turnaround time for issuing of true certified copies of entries of births and deaths will be reduced from two weeks to one week. For the implementation, an amount of GH₵290,983,971.00 has been allocated. Out of this, GH₵47,721,742.00 is GoG(16%), and GH₵243,262,229.00 is from Development Partners(DP) (84%).CLGA cautions government on the over dependence on DPs for Decentralization and local government  issues as trends in the past indicated the dwindling nature of donor funding for such programmes.

On Temporary Moratorium on Adoption

Under Paragraph 105, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSoP)  has placed a moratorium on child adoption in Ghana ostensibly to address current challenges and protect adopted children and their foster parents. For how long and what precipitated this? Also under Paragraph 108 the Ministry aims at expanding the implementation of the LEAP to cover over 200,000 household beneficiaries to improve their socio-economic status and ensure the survival and development of children as well as to promote the welfare of the vulnerable and excluded in society. Couldn’t we have used a decentralized structure which has regional and district beneficiary system ?

On Standardization of Procedure for Land Title Registration

Paragraph 390 also provides for a ‘Standardized Decentralized Procedure for land title registration’. The CLGA wants to know how MMDAs are involved in this arrangement since they are the planning authorities and can zone and rezone an area. CLGA is of the view that they must be involved in this decentralized arrangements.

On Development of a National ‘Permitting System’

Under Paragraph 451, the budget provides for the Development of a National ‘Permitting System’. It is the view of the CLGA that MMDAs must be involved from day one to avoid any future implementation challenges.

On ‘Protection of Ghana’s Territorial Waters’

Under Paragraph 393, the budget provides for the ‘Protection of Ghana’s Territorial Waters’. CLGA is of the view that there is the need for a full disclosure of how much is going to cost Ghana in the fight against its maritime boundary case under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) with the Republic of  Cote d’Ivoire.  Ghana has currently applied to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea ( under the arbitral procedures),  of Annex VII of UNCLOS on the determination of its maritime boundary with Cote d’ Ivoire. This is an important development for Ghana’s oil finds and Local Economic Development (LED) . The question of how much is it going to cost Ghana to prosecute this case  is important for budget implementation . The 2015 Budget is silent on this important cost element. Its disclosure becomes important when it is reported that Nigeria in 2002 spent $300 million to prosecute its case with Cameroun over the Bakassi Peninsula yet they lost the case

Source:www.thisdaylive.com/articles/presidential-panel-divided-over-bakassi/127132/     retrieved on Saturday 22nd November, 2014).

Though facts and forum of the two cases may differ, for prudent financial management we have to make some projections and prepare adequately for the case so that it does not affect any of our budgetary projections. CLGA cannot expect  the Ministry of Justice to  pursue this case with its meager budgetary provision of  GH₵74,350,282.00  under paragraph 684 of the budget.

On Sector Selective Implementation of a Local Content Policy

Under Paragraph 468, the budget provides for the implementation of a Local Content Policy for  power and petroleum downstream sub-sectors. The CLGA is of the view that, application of the local content regulations must be extended to all other sectors of the economy and  implemented in collaboration with the respective MMDAs for sustainability, effective monitoring, quality assurance  and mainstreaming into their  Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP).

On Mainstreaming of Issues of Persons with Disability into Development Plan (PWDs)

Under Paragraph 664, the budget provided for the mainstreaming of issues of PWDs into the nation’s development planning processes. The CLGA is of the view that, though this is a good move, it is long overdue considering that the Disability Act of 2006 grants a moratorium of 10 years for all existing buildings to which the public has access to make those buildings accessible to and available for use by PWDs (under sections 58 and 60 on Regulations of the Disability Act).This expires in 2016. So effective 2017 we have to enforce this requirement. However this applies to only buildings in existence before the Disability Act was passed in 2006. So what have we done on buildings constructed after the passage of the Act. The CLGA is of the view that we should not wait as a nation  to pass an  L.I before enforcing the moratorium provision to protect our brothers and sisters.  The National Disability Council has also not established its Regional and District offices as required by Section 49 of the Disability Act . This creates a big gap in the bottom up involvement of PWDs in the governance process.

In addition to the above, there is the need for designation of special parking places for PWDs by MMDAs and other operators of transport stations so that they do not struggle with able bodied persons for transport  required by section 26 of PWD Act has also not been complied with  . Also not complied with is the provision in the Act requiring the reserving of seats on all public vehicles for PWDs at all times as indicated under Section 29 of the Act.  All  the above are critical and the CLGA calls for a fast tracking approach to fully implement the National Disability Act.

On Guidelines for Tracking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Under Paragraph 387, the budget provides for guidelines for the tracking of Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS). It is the view of the CLGA that, this must be done in partnership with the MMDAs for quality assurance, reduced duplications, coordination and ensure  targeted development. Involving MMDAs has far reaching implications for its success, sustenance and proper mainstreaming into their Medium Term Development Plans. MMDAs are to consider CRS as sources of funds or resources for development. By their creation, they are to ensure better coordination of these CRS guidelines to ensure compliance. The Minerals Commission should therefore collaborate with MMDAs operating in mineral rich Districts for effective tracking to reduce social conflicts.

On Budgetary Provision for 2015 Local Level and Unit Committee Elections

In the budget, the Electoral Commission is provided with estimates to perform the following functions:
  • Conduct the District Assembly and Local Governance elections in all 216 MMDAs;
  • The Commission will sensitize the public to increase awareness of the District level electoral process and  the conduct of the District Assembly and Unit Committee Elections;
  • Audit political party accounts to enforce legal and financial compliance for political organization.

For the implementation of the above activities, an amount of GH₵35,700,455.00 has been allocated.  However, provisions for same activities were made under the 2014 budget for the EC with a higher amount of  GH¢141,082,137  . A review indicated that not even 50% of functions earmarked to be performed in 2014 were performed by EC. The 2015 Budget has also provided for similar activities with a reduced budget of .  GH₵35,700,455.00.  CLGA wants to understand the following ;
  1. Are we going to see the local government elections organized at all?
  2. Why the drastic cut in the EC’s budget from GH¢141,082,137 in 2014 to GH₵35,700,455.00 in 2015 for similar activities?
  3. Where the 2014 activities performed by the EC at all ?

On Fiscal and Monitory Policy Reconciliation

CLGA reiterates its call for the adoption of a tighter policy stance complemented by a strong and effective fiscal discipline to achieve the inflation target. This will require effective policy reconciliation between the monetary and fiscal policies of Ghana. There is the need for a formal policy reconciliation forum for the Bank of Ghana in terms of monetary policy and the Ministry of finance (MoF) in areas of fiscal policy. Such policy reconciliation forum is critical to maintain a balance in the policy space of Ghana.

On Consistency of MMDAs Composite Budget with National Budgets and Extension of PBB to MMDAs

Under Paragraph 808 of the budget, it provides for making MMDAs budget consistent with national budgets. It is the view of the CLGA that, this must be carefully done so that it does not affect the  implementation of the District Composite Budget, Programme Based Budget  (PBB) and GIFMIS so it does not affect the operations of the MMDAs. IPSAS must be operationalized before MMDA borrowing under the Local Government Finance Bill become fruition. The proposed GIFMIS rollout of P2P to at least 50 more MMDAs require a gradual phase by phase introduction of PBB. This must also fit into the operationalization of IPSAS;

On Provision for the Work of the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC)

Nothing was also said in the  budget about arrangements and budgetary provisions for the work of the CRIC in implementing the government White Paper on the Constitutional Review Committee report.
  • Are we going to see the referendum and other amendments to the Constitution happening in 2015?
  • If so, what are the budgetary and financial requirements of the state and when is this going to happen?
  • Are we going to see it happening together with the local government elections?
  • If so, what sensitization measures are we putting in place to help citizens understand the implications of the targeted amendment for national development?

On Low IGF for Newly Created Districts

The budget provides for the IGFs of MMDAs. However there is a problem with that of the newly created MMDAs.  A review of the performance of newly created MMDAs in the greater Accra Region indicated below speaks for itself

From the above, it is clear that majority of the MMDAs who were not able to meet their IGF projections were in the category of newly created Districts (2012). Most of them have boundary disputes by virtue of the nature of their L.Is. An early resolution of this dispute and communication of same to the rate payers is critical. The budget is however silent on this important function of resolving boundary disputes among local governments and communication of same to the respective local governments. The case of  Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and Kpone-Katamanso,  Adentan and La-Nkwatanang Madina  are few that require consideration.  Questions that are begging for answers include:
  • What is the status of the MMDA Boundary Dispute Committee’s work? 
  • How is it going to affect the implementation of the 2015 Composite Budget of MMDAs?
  • What is the status of the socio economic data bases of such newly created MMDAs to warrant the mobilization of IGF?

Other areas not provided for in the budget  

The Budget did not also adequately provide for various essential areas of local government.
  1. Provision was not made for the Local Government Service (LGS) and the Institute of Local Government studies (ILGS). Administrative decentralization is going to suffer if  these two institutions are not well resourced;
  2. IMCC which has emerged as one of the strongest institutions to effectively coordinate the decentralization implementation in Ghana has not also been provided for;
  3. Provision was also not made for the resolution of the existing District boundary disputes;
  4. Provision was also not made for the operationalization of the Urban, Zonal, Town and Areas Councils and the Unit Committees which are critical for the success of any local government;
  5. Processes for permanently sharing assets and socio-economic data between the old and newly created MMDAs were also not provided for in the budget;
  6. There is an impending new Decentralization Policy (yet to be approved by IMCC and Cabinet) to replace the 2010 policy to run from 2015-2019, no mention has been made in the budget statement; is it to say that implementation will delay?
  7. In the era of Composite Budget, nothing was said about Assembly members’ ex-gratia payments;
  8. Nothing was said about the national Local Economic Development (LED) policy which has   been completed and  its implementation;
These were not given priority in the budget but has the potential of affecting the composite budget and the entire Decentralization implementation process.

Conclusion

The CLGA encourages government to continue to make adequate provisions for local government and decentralization in Ghana as that is the only way by which the nation can achieve accelerated development through a bottom up approach.



DECENTRALIZATION AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: THE CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMISSION’S (CRC) REPORT AND THE GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER- AREAS REQUIRING FURTHER CONSIDERATION.


The Government of Ghana in 1988 drawing on earlier attempts and experiences embarked on a process of implementing a comprehensive decentralization and local government reform programme. The programme aimed at establishing efficient decentralized government machinery, promoting popular participation by shifting the process of governance from command to consultative processes and devolve functions, power, competences, skills, resources and means to local governments through executive, legislative, administrative, planning, service delivery, rating and budgeting.

The primary legislation was the Local Government Law of 1988, PNDCL 207. This was further deepened with the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution which has the entire Chapter 20 devoted to “Decentralization and Local Government”. Article 240 (1) of the 1992 Constitution which is an entrenched provisions in the Constitution, provided for the following:

‘Ghana shall have a system of Local Government and administration, which shall as far as practicable, be decentralized’.

Article 240(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana’

Ghana’s current system of decentralization has evolved in response to the demand for improved service delivery, accountability and good governance. Subsequent legislations including the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) and the Local Government Service Act, 2003 (Act 656), The National Development Planning Commission Act, the District Assemblies Common Fund Act

Introduction

455 were passed to support the process. After 20 years (1988-2008) of implementation, a review indicated marginal progress towards achieving the desired results. This and other factors formed the basis of Ghana’s new Decentralization policy framework in 2010.The new policy provided for ten (10) thematic areas of concentration within the plan implementation period. This has since been implemented and due to be replaced with a second policy framework to run from 2015 - 2017 riding on the new GSGDA II.

Ghana’s Decentralization Policy Framework is premised on the guiding principles on Decentralization within Article 35(6d) of the 1992 Constitution.

Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles underpins Ghana’s Local Government and Decentralisation system:
The right of all persons to be afforded opportunities to participate in decision making at every level of governance;
Central government transferring relevant functions, powers, responsibilities and resources to local government units in a coordinated manner; and in turn, local governments transferring required resources to sub-structures;
Enhancing capacity of local government authorities to plan, initiate, coordinate, manage and execute policies in respect of all matters affecting the people in their areas;
Ensuring local government accountability through an effective citizenry participation;
Ensuring effective control of persons in the service of local government by local authorities.
1.2 Structure of local governments in Ghana

Ghana’s 1992 Constitution creates a three-tier structure of sub-national government at regional, district and sub-district levels; through the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs); Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assemblies (MMDAs); and Urban/Zonal/Town/ Area Councils and Unit Committees. The Constitution further mandates Parliament to prescribe the guidelines for the demarcation of MMDAs.

Under the Constitution, the RCCs are chaired by Regional Ministers and has other members as deputy regional ministers, the Presiding Members and Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) from each district in the region and two chiefs from the Regional House of Chiefs.

Regional Heads of decentralized ministries in the region are considered non-voting members and may attend RCC meeting depending on the subject under discussion. The RCC’s main function is to monitor, coordinate and evaluate the performance of the legal mandate of the various MMDAs in the region.

The MMDAs are the highest political authority in the district and are vested with deliberative, legislative and executive powers. The Composition of the MMDAs is seventy percent (70%) elected in non-partisan elections and thirty percent (30%) of all the members appointed by government in consultation with traditional authorities and interest groups.

The Constitution prescribes that local level elections are held every four (4) years. Members of Parliament whose constituencies fall within a district are also considered members of the respective Assemblies but without any voting right.

The MMDCEs are appointed by the President subject to the approval by two-thirds of majority of members of the MMDAs. The meetings of the Assemblies are chaired by a Presiding member, who is elected by two-thirds of all members of the Assembly for two (2) year tenure .

The Constitution also makes provision for further decentralization to the grassroots level by making provision to deepen popular participation in governance through the creation of the Zonal/Urban/Town/Area Councils and the Unit Committees.

1.3 The corporate character of District Assemblies in Ghana

In Ghana, local governments are created as independent entities in law, who can sue and be sued. They are of legal character which requires a separate and special Legislative Instrument (L.I) to support their establishment. Features which gives them such legal character included the fact that; they are created (declared and assigned a name) by President under .Executive Instrument (E.I) .After satisfying minimum population of 75,000 for districts, minimum population of 95,000 for municipals (Until 2012 there was an additional geographical requirement of “a single compact settlement “ for such a municipality).This aspect of Act 462 has since been amended .Minimum population of 250,000 for Metropolitan Assemblies.

In addition to all the above, the element of geographical contiguity and economic viability must be met by all. Aside creation which is general, each potential MMDA is also required to be properly established by a specific Legislative Instrument (L.I) as the highest political authority; the L.I. provides the following:
The actual name of an MMDA;
The number of persons each to be elected and those to be appointed;
The jurisdiction, functions, powers and responsibilities of the MMDA
The place where the principal offices of the Assembly are to be situated (capital) etc.
Also, Local Governments in Ghana are required to be incorporated to make their corporate character complete (Section 4 of Act 462).

The inauguration, common seal, logo and others makes the Assembly incorporated as a body corporate with perpetual succession which entitles it to sue and also be sued.

1.4 Functions of Local Governments

The Local Government Act, 1993, Act 462 mandates local governments to exercise political and administrative authority within their area of jurisdiction, provide guidance, give direction to and supervise all other administrative authorities in the district. Principally, local governments in Ghana are required to perform the following functions:
Be responsible for the overall development of the district ;
Formulate and execute plans, programmes and strategies for the effective mobilization of the resources necessary for the overall development of the district ;
Promote and support productive activity and social development in the district and remove any obstacle to initiate development;
Initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provide municipal works and services in the district; and
Be responsible for the development, improvement and management of human settlements and the environment in the district;
Maintain security and public safety in the local government.
2.0 STATUS OF DECENTRALIZATION AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENTATION IN GHANA

Ghana’s Decentralization Policy Framework of 2010 together with the National Development Action plan aims at reorientation and reinvigorating Ghana’s decentralization objectives as outlined under Article 240 of Constitution. The Decentralization Action Plan (2010) is considered the second national plan following the National Development Action Plan (NDAP) of 2004 . It has been implemented for five (5) years 2010-2015. It focuses on ten (10) main prioritized areas. These are:
Political decentralization and legal issues;
Administrative decentralization;
Decentralized development planning;
Spatial planning;
Local economic development;
Fiscal decentralization;
Popular participation and accountability;
Social agenda ;
Involvement of non-state actors in local governance;
Institutional mechanism for policy coordination.
Though not representing a marked departure from the maiden plan of 2008, the following differences can be associated with the new policy:
Its development was the outcome of a longer well documented consultative process;
All inclusiveness was the key approach to ensure the by-ins of all political parties, for continuity and sustainability of initiatives;
It clarifies the concept of decentralization, the roles of the central government, regions, MM¬DAs and sub-district structures;
Responded to the contemporary need to include issues of popular participation, spatial planning social agenda and accountability is-sues in governance previously not anticipated;
Provided for more coherent institutional arrangements for policy coordination through the Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee.
All inclusiveness was the key approach to elicit the by-ins of all political parties, for continuity and sustainability of initiatives;
It clarifies the concept of decentralization, the roles of the central government, regions, MM¬DAs and sub-district structures;
Responded to the contemporary need to include issues of popular participation, spatial planning , social agenda and accountability issues in governance previously not anticipated;
Provided for more coherent institutional arrangements for policy coordination through the Inter-ministerial Coordinating Committee.

2.1 Progress and Challenges of Decentralization and local Government reforms in Ghana

A recent review of Decentralization implementation revealed substantial progress but with various challenges. The initiation and completion of the constitutional review process which identified majority of these has provided an added impetus which if addressed would have the potential of fast- tracking the decentralization implementation process.

3.0 The Constitutional Review process and the Constitution Review Commission (CRC)

Though the twenty (20) years review of decentralization implementation in 2011 revealed various gaps; the Constitutional review process from 2011 is the most significant, figural , bold and remarkable attempt by the nation to fast track the decentralization implementation process. The promulgation of Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 64, 2010 pursuant to article 278(1) of the 1992 Constitution and the subsequent inauguration of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) on 11th January, 2010 set the 1992 Constitutional review process in motion. The C.I. established the CRC and gave it a legal mandate to among other things:
Ascertain from the people of Ghana, their views on the operation of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution and, in particular, the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution;
Articulate the concerns of the people of Ghana on amendments required for a comprehensive review of the 1992 Constitution; and
Make recommendations to the Government for consideration and provide a draft Bill for possible amendments to the 1992 Constitution.
3.1 Establishing the Thematic Areas

The CRC conducted Regional Consultations in all 10 administrative Regions along the following key thematic areas:
National Development Planning;
Executive Powers (including transition of executive authority);
Legislative Powers (including transition of legislative authority);
Legal Sector Issues (Judiciary and administration of justice);
Decentralization and Local Government;
Independent Constitutional Bodies;
National Elections and related issues;
Natural Resources and Financial Management (including Oil and Gas);
Public Services;
Traditional Authority; and
Human Rights.

Decentralization and local government formed an important component of the thematic areas identified by the CRC for consultation and review. After series of community, regional and other consultations, it culminated into a national constitutional conference which finally validated the findings along the following lines:
Their historical background;
Their supporting framework (constitutional, legislative, administrative practice, institutional);
The emerging issues after a number of years of implementation since 1993;
The strengths and weaknesses of the Constitutional provision under each thematic area;
The constitutional and legislative reviews/changes required to remedy any identified weaknesses during the years of implementing the constitution ;
The administrative and institutional reviews/ changes required to remedy any of such identified weaknesses;
The changes required in any custom(s) to remedy such weaknesses as has been identified during the years of implementing the constitution;

Feedback from the conference, informed the development of a final report by the commission to the Presidency. A white paper was subsequently issued on the report by government. The content of the white paper and matters arising thereof are the subject of this paper. The paper reviews the White Paper’s position and expresses professional opinion on the implications for decentralized local governance in Ghana

4.0 Emerging issues on local government and decentralization

A number of issues were identified by the CRC as affecting local government and decentralization. Most of them bothers mainly on conceptual issues. Typically, the following were identified:
Conceptualization of the Decentralization policy
Definition of Local Government
Demarcation of Local Governments
Allocation of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to Local Governments
The oversight role of the Regions in Ghana’s Decentralization process
Composition of the MMDA’s
The Partisan or Non Partisan Nature of Local government System in Ghana
Should the Constitution be amended to scrap the thirty percent (30%) government appointees or should the percentage to be appointed be reserved for identifiable groups;
Should the Constitution be amended to remove Members of Parliament (MPs) as members of District Assemblies;
Whether or not MMDCE’s are to be elected.
Conditions of Service for all Assembly Members.
The election and Tenure of Presiding Members.
Financing of MMDAs.
Funding Town-Zonal-Area Councils/Unit Committees
Whether or not Town/Zonal/Area and Unit Committee members should be paid a monthly allowance.

CRC Final Report and Government White Paper

As per the mandate of the CRC they submitted their final report to the government subsequent to which a white paper was issued indicating government’s position not accepting all the CRC recommendations. This paper will subject the CRC proposal to an in-depth analysis, consider government’s position in the white paper and make a strong case for areas requiring further review. The paper will conclude that the white paper itself has been overtaken by events and would require a critical review before the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) sets its action plan for the implementation of recommendations to review the Constitution in motion The white paper as it stands now if implemented to the latter would do more harm than good to decentralization and Local Governance in Ghana.

What are the provisions of the white paper on local government and decentralization

The preamble to the white paper indicates that Government accepts most of the recommendations of the Commission. It went on further to indicate that where Government does not accept the Commission’s recommendations, reasons for the non-acceptance have been stated. These reasons have been analyzed by this paper and a strong case made for their reconsideration if need be before going ahead with the amendment or review of the 1992 constitution.

Where the CRC recommends the retention of existing provisions of the Constitution and Government agreed with the Commission, the white paper is silent on it implying the status quo -ante stays. It is also gratifying to note that for the purposes of implementing the recommendations, the Government set up a five-member Implementation Committee with the mandate to implement the accepted recommendations, in accordance with Chapter 25 of the 1992 Constitution on Amendments.

5.2. The Provision or Caveat in the White Paper

Section 6.0 of the White Paper is on the government’s response to the recommendations of the CRC. It starts with a proviso that “no comments have been made in relation to proposals in the Constitutional Review Commission’s Report where the Report accepts the constitutional or legal status quo. Such provisions should be considered to have been accepted by government except otherwise expressly stated. Government has also restricted itself to a point by point response to specific recommendations made by the Constitutional Review Commission”.

The report and its interpretation must be undertaken with regard to this caveat.

5.3 Provisions of the White Paper on Decentralization and local government

Government responses in the white paper on the MMDAs covered a wide range of areas . As indicated earlier, they covered the following :
Concept of Decentralization
Demarcation of Metropolitan/Municipal/ District Assembly(MMDAs) Boundaries
Common Fund Allocation to MMDAs
Regional Coordinating Council
Composition
Appointments
Functions
Metropolitan/ Municipal/District Assemblies
Composition of the District Assembly
Appointment of the MMDCEs
Conditions of Service
Election and Tenure of Presiding Members
Financing
Town-Zonal-Area Councils/Unit Committees
Conditions of Service for operators at the sub-district structures

The above is a clear indication that the white paper has invariably accepted all the main headings under the thematic area for local government and decentralization identified in the CRC report. The challenge is whether or not the various sub-specific proposals under each of the main heading have been given the needed attention and responded to by the white paper. Specifically Section 6.7, Chapter 9 of the White Paper provided for government’s response to the CRCs proposal on decentralization and local government. In all twelve(12) issues were responded to as follows:
1st Issue: Conceptual Basis for Ghana’s Decentralization and Local Government
2nd Issue: Mode of District Assembly Elections
3rd Issue : Selection, Qualification and Composition of MMDAs
4thIssue: Mode of selecting MMDCEs
5th Issue: Tenure of office of MMDCEs
6th Issue: Removal and Security of Tenure of MMDCEs
7th Issue: Mode of Election and Tenure of Office of Presiding Members
8th Issue: Conditions of Service for MMDC¬Es, Presiding and Assembly Members
9th Issue: Fiscal Decentralization
10th Issue: Demarcation of the Boundaries of Districts
11th Issue: Regional Coordinating Councils and Regional Level Governance
12th Issue: Urban, Town and Area Councils and Unit Committees.

First Issue: Conceptual Basis of Decentralization and Local Government

White paper position:
Government accepts the recommendation that article 240 of the Constitution be amended to identify the type of decentralization envisaged at the three levels of decentralization in Ghana namely:

(a) de-concentration at the level of the Regional Coordinating Council;

(b) devolution at the level of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly; and

(c) delegation at the level of the Sub-District.

Commentary and Perspectives of the writer:

This is good and seemed to have added to the clarification already provided under the new decentralization policy framework of 2010. Providing for it in the Constitution adds more meaning and weight to the clarity in like manner as exists under Article 176 of the current Ugandan Constitution.

Second Issue: Mode of District Assembly Elections

White paper position:
Government does not accept the recommendation that article 248 of the Constitution be amended to empower Parliament at any time in the future to make provision for partisan elections at the district and sub district levels.
Government is of the view that the arguments advanced by the Commission for a non-partisan local government system far outweigh any arguments in favour of a partisan local government system. Government therefore intends that article 248 in its present form be retained.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

Government position seem to be right in law and the practice of governance , however we should not keep a blind eye on the realities on the ground where the Assemblies and election have been tainted with party politics to the extent that it is not difficult for one to know the party of an assembly member. This has also affected the choice and approval of Presiding Members (PMs) and Chairpersons of Finance and Administration sub-committees in the recent past. We either have to outlaw it completely and strictly enforce it with appropriate sanctions or review the constitution to reflect the current realities on the ground. Amending article 248 is the way out.

Third Issue: Selection, Qualification and Composition of MMDAs

White paper position:
Government accepts the recommendation that the mandatory membership of MPs on the MMDAs be abolished. Instead, an MMDA may co-opt an MP of a constituency or constituencies within its jurisdiction as a non-voting member of the MMDA;
Government also accepts the recommendation that the thirty(30) per cent(%) membership of the MMDAs be retained but does not accept the recommendation that the power to make the appointments be made by the President in accordance with the advice of the traditional authorities only.
It is the view of Government that the present provision which allows the President to make the appointments in consultation with the traditional authorities and other interest groups in the district is more flexible and inclusive and therefore preferable.
Government however accepts the recommendation for legislation to provide an indicative list of identifiable groups to be appointed to the MMDAs.
Government does not accept the recommendation that the traditional authorities develop detailed criteria for the selection of the thirty per cent (30%) appointees for appointment by the President.
Instead, Government is of the view that the detailed criteria for the selection of the thirty per cent (30%) appointees should be included in legislation, preferably the Local Government Act.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

Evidence and practice have revealed the appointment of party faithful to occupy the 30% appointees of the MMDAs. This has further worsened the political polarization of the MM¬DAs. There is the need for further clarity on what the proposed indicative list means. This must be generated with resource- skills mix input from the technical wing of the MMDAs in-forming the appointment.

The nation stands to benefit enormously from able bodied professionals and other vulnerable members of the society normally sidelined in such situations. Specific seats must be reserved for traditional authorities in all MMDAs so that they can be properly integrated into the MMDAs governance process.

Fourth Issue: Mode of selecting Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executive

White paper position:
Government does not accept the recommendation that Parliament should be empowered to determine specific mechanisms for choosing MMDCEs.
Government does not also accept the recommendation that MMDCEs should be popularly elected.
Rationale: Government is of the view that in decentralizing in a unitary state, a delicate balance ought to be struck between central control and local autonomy. Consequently, Government is of the view that article 243 (1) of the Constitution should be amended for the President to nominate a minimum of five(5) persons who would be vetted by the Public Services Commission for competence after which three(3) nominees would contest in a public election.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

There are three issues here; Accountability, Transparency and Competence. If government ‘s interference is to ensure that MMDCEs are competent then same must be extended to Ministers of State at the national level.

In a typical democratic society, government allows people in a particular district to vote on their leaders (MMDCEs) in a purely non partisan manner. This will promote social accountability and responsiveness. The issue of competence and delicate balance cannot replace citizens right to choose their MPs and Assembly members. This is one grey area in our democratic dispensation which must be properly promoted to facilitate a true popular participation in governance. MMDCEs must be elected by popular vote without any conditionality. Again the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we appointing MMDCEs as managers or as politicians? This will inform the way to go.

Fifth Issue: Tenure of office –District Chief Executives and Assembly Members

White paper position:
Government accepts the following recommendations:

(a) the tenure of all members of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies should be 4 years;

(b) the tenure of all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives should be 4 years;

(c) the tenure of all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives should be coterminous with those of the President and Parliament.
Government does not accept the recommendation that Parliament should deter-mine the number of terms MMDCEs may be in office. Once MMDCEs are approved by popular vote and by the District Assemblies respectively, Government is of the view that for as long as the President nominates a person for the position of MMDCE and for as long as the person wins the popular vote of approval or the approval of the District Assembly as appropriate, he/she may continue to be DCE.

Rationale:
This will go a long way to remove the in-security felt by DCEs when coming to the end of their mandatory term and put them at par with MPs who may be elected to Parliament for as long as their constituents vote for them.
It will also remove a major source of the conflict between MMDCEs and MPs and the tendency for MMDCEs to undermine their MPs in order to seek to replace them.
Government does not see the need for the recommendation that the Constitution should prescribe the holding of by-elections to replace an elected member who resigns or dies because the situation is well covered by the existing law. Section 11 (1) of the District Assembly Elections Act, 1994, Act (473), which provides that:

“Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Representation of the People Law, 1992, (PNDCL 284), shall apply to District Assembly election under this Act with such modifications as may be necessary.”

Section 12 of PNDCL 284 provides as follows:

“Whenever a vacancy occurs in the membership of Parliament, the Clerk to Parliament shall notify the Commission in writing within seven days after the vacancy occurred, and a by-election shall be held within thirty days after the vacancy occurred”.

Sub-section (2) States as follows:

“Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a by-election shall not be held within three months before the holding of a general election”.

Consequently, the recommendation for the Electoral Commission to legislatively determine the time frame and related matters for holding by-elections for MMDAs electoral areas becomes otiose. The practice has been for the Secretary to the MMDA (the District Coordinating Director) to notify the District Electoral Office of all the vacancies to enable the Office take appropriate action to hold the by-election.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

For the first time a clear provision on the exact tenure of MMDAs to be (4) years .Until this has been made, It has been determined by administrative instructions. However, there is no known clear -cut provision in any law on the exact tenure of Assembly members. It must be noted that the tenure of MMDAs and the tenure of Assembly members are not necessarily the same. The fixed term of office accepted for MMDCEs is in line with contemporary good governance practices and has the potency of introducing an element of consistency in public administration between local, regional and national governance systems. Similarly, the replacement of a member who resigns or dies is clearly provided for in law as outlined in the white paper so existing provision must be activated and properly invoked if the circumstances so requires.

Sixth Issue: Removal and Security of Tenure-District Chief Executives

White paper position:

Following Government’s view that there should be the same mode of selection for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives.
Government accepts the recommendation that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives may be removed from office by the President with the approval of not less than two-thirds majority of all Assembly members.
Conversely, the Assembly may also request the removal of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives by a petition signed by two-thirds of all members of the Assembly, and the request should be endorsed by the President.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

This provision is long overdue as citizens see it as a way of practically taking away their sovereign right to choose their leader. The current system where the MMDA approves Presidential nominee for an MMDCE , only for such a person to be withdrawn at a later date by the President without recourse to the Assembly is very undemocratic. Why can’t we have the same Assembly which approved the appointment of an MMDCEs be consulted during any dismissal or withdrawing of an MMDCE by the President for their approval of such dismissal.

Seventh Issue: Mode of Election and Tenure of Office of Presiding Members

White paper position:
Government accepts the recommendation that article 244 (2) be amended to allow for the election of Presiding Members by a majority of the members of the Assembly pre-sent and voting.
Government also accepts the recommendation for the retention of the two-year, two-term tenure of office for Presiding Members.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

The issue of having majority of the members present and voting for Presiding Member is long overdue. This in effect lowers the higher standard of “all” Assembly Members present and voting before a Presiding Member can be chosen. In the past some Assemblies had to vote on a Presiding member nine(9) times before settling on one, just because of the inadequacy of the numbers or the unavailability of one person or the other for voting. This has both cost and administrative implications.

Eighth Issue: Conditions of Service- MMDCEs, Presiding and Assembly Members

White paper position:
Government accepts the recommendation that the Independent Emoluments Commission recommended to be set up under the Constitution should determine the emoluments and conditions of service of MMDCEs, Presiding Members and Assembly members.
Government notes however that this recommendation does not address the issue of whether the Presiding and Assembly members should be paid from the resources of the Central Government or that of the MMDAs.
Government is of the view that the emoluments for Presiding and Assembly members, once fixed by the Independent Emoluments Commission, should be paid from the Consolidated Fund. These should be budgeted for and transferred to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies as Grants-in-Aid.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

These proposals should settle the issue of compensating and appropriately rewarding Presiding and Assembly members in the discharge of their duties. The work of Assembly members is almost fulltime and has long outlived its previously held voluntary notion.

Going forward, the need for the proper clarity on the elements and basis of establishing what goes into the emoluments and conditions of service for Presiding and Assembly members.

Under the new composite budget system, payment out of the consolidated funds and transfers to MMDAs should be feasible but must be accompanied by appropriate measures to ensure that such funds are used for the intended purposes.

Again, once they are paid out of the consolidated funds, they become public officers and must be appropriately appraised and subjected to similar standards of supervision, monitoring and control existing for all other public officers paid out of the consolidated funds.

Ninth Issue: Fiscal Decentralization

White paper position:
Government accepts the recommendation of the Commission that the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator (DACF) should be established as an independent constitutional body.
Government also accepts that the contradictory constitutional provisions on the appointment of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator in articles 70(1c) and 252(4) must be reconciled.
Government does not accept the recommendation that the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator should be authorized to make proposals to Parliament for determining which additional revenue generating functions need to be ceded to the MMDAs. Government is of the view that such a decision should be taken by Cabinet after recommendations have been made to that effect by the Minister of Local Government and that such a provision is best contained in legislation that is the Local Government Act and not the Constitution.
Government does not also accept the recommendation that two Deputy Administrators be appointed. Government is of the view that once the quantum of resources to be distributed among the MMDAs is determined by the Min¬ister of Finance and once Parliament approves the sharing formula, the only function of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator is to apply the formula to the quantum to get each MMDA allocation of the Fund. This is easily done by one person using a computer.
A Board for the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator is not considered necessary.
Government however accepts the recommendation that the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator be filled with staff for data gathering and monitoring purposes, but that does not require a constitutional amendment.
Government also accepts the following recommendations of the Commission which do not require constitutional amendments:

(a) the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator should institute detailed and clear-cut procedures for accounting for the use of the District Assemblies Common Fund;

(b) the Member of Parliaments’ share of the District Assemblies Common Fund should be abolished and a Constituency Development Fund be established to replace it.

Commentary and perspectives of the Writer:

The CRC made practical proposals under this section impacting positively on fiscal decentralization and financial resource base of local governments in Ghana. The writer will comment on them as follows:
Government’s acceptance of the independent status of the office of the Administrator of Common Fund is welcomed. It is however not enough to leave it at that level. The acceptance and recognition must be specifically provided for in law to enable Ghanaians hold duty bearers and leaders accountable any time the independence of the office is threatened or compromised;
On the contradictory provision under Articles 252(4) and 70(1c), whereas one re-quire the approval of Parliament, the other require the consultation of the Council of State before appointing the Administrator of the Fund. The question is, which one supersedes the other? Considering the entrenched status of Article 252 it will suffice to say that it supersedes the other article on the subject matter. There is therefore the need to resolve the contradiction.
On the issue of government’s rejection of the proposal that Administrator of Common Fund makes recommendation for additional revenue assignments to local governments, whilst agreeing with the rejection, the proposal to cabinet for such an approval should rather emanate from a joint memo submitted by the Finance and the Local Government Ministry .This must be supported in law in other to stand the test of time. There however seem to be a Draft Local Government Finance Bill which if reviewed and passed can resolve many of these challenges. This must be given the attention as the ever widening funding gap of local governments is seriously affecting developments. The draft Consolidated Local Government Bill has some provisions on this matter. It is recommended for its inclusion.
The rejection of the proposal for the appointment of Deputy Administrators and a governing board requires review. The appointment of a deputy administrator is a key requirement to support the administrator. In the unlikely demise of the administrator a Constitutional challenge may be created as there is no provision for a deputy administrator to act until a new administrator is appointed. Considering the appointment requirements under Article 252, the position of at least one(1) deputy administrator can support and improve operations to avoid a Constitutional Lacuna
The administrator is so vulnerable and seemed powerless. Decisions are taken for him to merely implement. This does not make him a professional fund administrator. The issues of deduction at source, bulk purchases and other uses of the fund has been questioned on a number of occasions and platforms.
The existence of boards for similar funds; Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund), Road Fund etc has the potential of improving good corporate practice. This must be revisited;
The acceptance of the proposal to set up a separate Constituency Development Fund (CDF) aside the DACF is welcomed. This should be specifically provided for in the constitution and activated almost immediately. However the sources should be independent of the DACF.
Both Section 252 of the Constitution and the DACF (Act 455) indicate that payments in respect of the DACF shall be effected on quarterly basis. Article 252 (2) and Section 1 (3) of DACF Act 455 states ‘The allocation made by Parliament shall be paid in quarterly installments’. These two (2) provisions imply that both the office of the Administrator and the MMDAs should receive four quarterly transfers each year. The realities do not reflect this well intended provision. Review is required.

The issues below requires consideration by Parliament in making progress towards amending the Constitution in this regard:

.The Administrator submits to Parliament for approval on a yearly basis, the formula for the distribution of the DACF. Prior to this the Administrator seeks the approval of the Minister of Local Government & Rural Development and Cabinet. The Common Fund Formula for the sampled six (6) years below were in the following months of the year,

Year Month of Approval

2006 February

2007 February

2008 April

2009 February

2010 Mar

2011 April

2012 January

2014 March

2015 March

These delays in the approval of the Common Fund Formula starting from the submission of the proposed formula to Cabinet, getting Parliamentary approval, making MMDAs submit supplementary budgets is a major drawback on the assemblies’ development efforts.
A further new development in the delay is due to the wide time gaps between the date of transfer by the MoF, by the CAGD and the Payment Date by the Bank of Ghana. This time gaps, especially between the transfer date and the payment date, gives cause for concern.
The Administrator is obliged under section 14 the DACF Act, 455 to submit to Parliament, an annual report on the activities undertaken during the preceding fiscal year. The report should include information on the “…manner in which he has distributed the monies lodged in the Fund and the report of the Auditor General on the accounts.”
The Administrator submits to Parliament an Audited Account and Operational report to Parliament every year. The Administrator to a large extent relies on the monthly expenditure returns of the MMDAs to establish compliance of MMDAs to its budget, a mechanism that does not adequately reflect the situation on the ground.
Other areas requiring consideration includes:
Disparity between Funds Declared and Actual Transfer.
Lack of Institutional Framework for Verification and/or Challenging of Funds Allocated
Delay in the Disbursement Process
Late release of Funds/Funds released in installments and Planning of Projects
Funds deducted at source and central procurement
Delay in submission of Supplementary Budgets by MMDAs
Discrimination in the application of the formula against less endowed districts
Lack of Sensitization of Community Members
Lack of Consultation with Community Members
General lack of Transparency
Perceived rivalry between MPs and District Chief Executives in the use and release of DACF
District Assembles’ Common Fund, (DACF) Act, (1993), Act 455 is outmoded
Participatory review of DACF formula
Need for a transparent Framework to verify computation of the 7.5% national revenue transferred by MoFEP into the DACF
The need for a governing DACF board

Tenth Issue: Demarcation of the Boundaries of Districts

White paper position:

Government does not accept the recommendation that the Constitution provides specifically for the power to upgrade and create districts to be vested in the President and the Electoral Commission, subject to the approval of Parliament. In view of the political controversy that the creation and upgrading of districts has generated in the past, and in view of the fact that Presidents have tried to manipulate this power to the advantage of their Political parties, it is Government’s considered view that the subject be handled by an independent body.

Accordingly, Government is of the view that the power to create and upgrade districts should be vested in the Electoral Commission acting in consultation with the President and with the approval of Parliament, and that this should be provided for in the Constitution. The Ministry of Local Government should however continue to exercise the power to establish the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies but this should be done by legislation.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

The position taken by government is welcomed and laudable however, there is the need to properly define and explain the terms and elements constituting creation, establishment and upgrading of MMDAs in Ghana. The draft consolidated local government Bill may be one way out but a clear cut constitutional provision for this shall be appropriate indicative list of criteria to be satisfied including a checklist on the conditions to be met under each circumstance must be clear in law . This has the potency of introducing some level of transparency and objectivity in the establishment, creation and or upgrading of MMDAs in

Ghana. A situation where MMDAs are created at will without any transparent and verifiable basis can be avoided.

Eleventh Issue: Regional Coordinating Councils and Regional Level Governance

White Paper Position:

Government accepts the Commission’s recommendation for legislation to designate the Regional Coordinating Councils as part of the Central Government placed in charge of coordinating the policy planning of the districts and monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

This proposal and position of government is most laudable it will introduce the required consistency in the type of decentralised governance envisaged under the Constitution. The only challenge is the identification of a clear funding base for RCCs in the performance of their deconcentrated functions. However it seems the proposed introduction of a Regional Integrated Budget System (RIBS) for the RCC’s would resolve the issue of RCC Funding.

Twelve Issue: Urban, Town and Area Councils and Unit Committees

White paper position:

Government accepts the Commission’s recommendation that the Ministry of Local Government should take administrative action to make the sub-district structures function effectively.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

This proposal is about the best in deepening popular participation in governance and also sits with the democratic intent of our decentralization system. However, asking the Ministry of Local Government to take Administrative action to make the sub-district structure function effectively is outmoded at birth. Reason being that, this has been the status quo for some years but the nation has not seen any meaningful progress.

Meanwhile effective decentralisation lies on the vibrancy of the sub-structures. In other to make significant progress in our decentralised efforts, adequate and more precise provisions must be made in law on the establishment, operations, funding and capacitating of the sub-structure. The current state and circumstances cannot be revived by a mere administrative action; a well documented legislation is required immediately on this. Government must take a second look at this provision.

The case of Traditional Authorities

Government’s position on the proposals for traditional authorities was covered under Section 6.8 chapter 10 of the white paper. The following comes up for discussions in this paper:

Chiefs and Active Party Politics

Government Position in white paper: Government accepts the recommendation that article 277 of the Constitution be amended to define concisely the meaning of ‘active party politics’ in article 276 of the Constitution.

Consequently, government accepts further that ‘active party politics’ be defined to mean:

“openly and personally joining or taking part in the activities of a political party by wearing their paraphernalia and associating with the executive and members of that party ,mounting party platforms to galvanize support for the party at their meetings, being a card-bearing member of a political party and also holding an executive position in a party at any level”.

Government suggests that the definition above be placed in the Interpretation section of the 1992 Constitution to cater for other provisions in which the phrase has been used.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

This is laudable but should be sent back to the national house of chiefs and members of IPAC for additional inputs.

Remuneration of Chiefs

White paper position: Government accepts in principle the recommendation that the National House of Chiefs and the Regional Houses of Chiefs draw funds from the proposed Fund for the Independent Constitutional Bodies to be established under the Constitution for effective implementation of their functions and for the benefit of the traditional Authorities. However, this should be done on the advice of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to ascertain its implications on the national budget.

Commentary and perspectives of the writer:

This proposal must be accepted without any conditionality. It is the respectful view of the writer that the constitution must be clear and categorical on the matter by making explicit provisions on financing the remuneration of chiefs. The advice of the Minister for Finance in all Public Financial Matters is implicit and a mark of good public financial management so it must not be limited to the activities of chiefs. Government’s position to limit the financial support to only National and Regional House of chiefs must be reviewed to include traditional councils as provided for in the constitution under Article 270(2b) of the 1992 Constitution.

Conclusions
The above constitutional review on its own would not introduce the required increasing pace for decentralised governance in Ghana unless completed by the issues identified as outstanding below:
Review, reconciliation and consolidation of the major Legislations on Local Government and Decentralization
Decentralization of various Sectors – relevant to decentralization in Ghana.
Finally political commitment and permanency in public policy formulation and implementation would be key.

7.1 Going forward

There is a draft consolidated local government bill which is still in circulation for inputs by stakeholders. The issues raised in the bill suffice for a deeper and sober reflection in any attempt to implement the CRC report and the white paper recommendations.

The new proposal in the draft consolidated local government bill is that Bye-laws may now be valid if they are published in the print media or displayed on the DA’s premises and other prominent places in the district.



DECENTRALIZATION IMPLEMENTATION IN GHANA: ASSESSMENT OF KEY DECENTRALIZATION INSTITUTIONS AND THE PERSPECTIVES OF KEY LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERSONALITIES.


There is no doubt that Ghana’s decentralization programme has aged enough to require a nationwide evaluation of its efficacy in our quest to evolve an institutional process mechanism for locally-led energized initiatives in planning, resource mobilization and development delivery.  ( Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, Ghanaweb Columnist) “ “

Decentralization is defined as “any act in which a central government formally cedes powers to actors and institutions at lower levels in a political-administrative and territorial hierarchy”. In 1988, the PNDC government introduced a major piece of legislative reform, the Local Government Law (PNDC

Law 207). This created 110 designated districts within Ghana’s ten regions, with non-partisan District Assembly (DA) elections held initially in1988/89 and subsequently every four years. In addition to the two-thirds of DA members elected on an individual, non-party basis, one-third was appointed by central government, along with a chief executive for each district. The stated 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”. The architecture of decentralisation envisaged by the promoters of this initial effort informed the framing of the forth Republican Constitution which, in its Chapter 20 stipulates that Ghana shall have “…a system of local government and administration which shall, as far as practicable, be decentralized,” and in Article 35 (6d) requires the state “…to take appropriate measures to ensure decentralization in administrative and financial machinery of government and to give opportunities to people to participate in decision- making at every level in national life and government.” District Assemblies were established as the pivot of political, administrative and developmental decision-making at the local level. Three main types of decentralization are commonly identified: 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.

Key Institutions such as the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Local Government Service (LGS), National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development (MLGRD), and The District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) have sprung up along the practice of decentralization in Ghana to bring effectiveness and efficiency all in an attempt to seek the overall development of Ghana. Has Ghana’s decentralization system put in place since 1988 created the necessary institutions and structures needed to facilitate the accelerated development of the country? The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development exists to promote the establishment and development of a vibrant and well resourced decentralized system of local government for the people of Ghana lo ensure good governance and balanced rural based development. The Ministry does this by: formulating, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and coordinating reform policies and programmes to democratize governance and decentralize the machinery of government; reforming and energizing local governments to serve effectively as institutions for mobilizing and harnessing local resources for local national administration and development; facilitating the development of all human settlements through community and popular participation; facilitating the promotion of a clean and healthy environment; facilitating horticultural development; improving the demographic database for development planning and management; promoting orderly human settlement development; and monitoring and evaluate the effectiveness of local government institutions for improved management performance. According to Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye, the current Deputy Minister of MLGRD, the Ministry has the mandate in governance and deepening decentralization and also monitoring the work of District Assemblies. Other aspect of work of the ministry is on environmental sanitation; the ministry is working effectively on is creating an environmentally- friendly environment for people, the national sanitation day for instance which has gotten down well with Ghanaians which he thinks if Ghanaians continue to do it effectively will reduce the prevalence of diseases. He said the ministry is working effectively as required of them to promote good local governance. Hon. Kofi Jumah, a former Deputy Minister of MLGRD, believes that the high turnover of ministers at the ministry has affected the effectiveness and efficiency of ministers thereby defeating the mandate of the MLGRD is to develop policies since the ministers barely get a grasp of what the ministry exists for. To him, the MLGRD has not performed its functions very well.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE (LGS)

The Local Government Service is the newest of the public services of Ghana. It is established by Local Government Service Act 2003 Act 656 with its object being ‘’to secure effective administration and management of local government in the country’’. The functions summarize the roles of the various structures of the LGS to ensure participation at the local level in mobilizing and utilizing resources to ensure development. The functions of the Local Government Service generally are to: provide technical assistance to MMDAs and Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) to enable them to effectively perform their functions; conduct organizational and job analysis for RCCs and MMDAs; conduct management audits for RCCs and MMDAs in order to improve the overall management of the Service; design and co-ordinate management systems and processes for RCCs and MMDAs, and assist the RCCs and MMDAs in the performance of their functions under Act 462, Act 480, and any other enactment, etc The mission of the LGS is to support local government to deliver value for money services through the mobilization, harmonization and utilization of quality human capacity and material resources to promote local and national development’.

The Local Government Service (LGS) which includes the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS), MMDAs and the RCCs, has as its governing body a LGS Council which oversees governance issues and ensures effective functioning of the LGS.

The Secretariat has been established to facilitate and give technical support to the LGS. The MMDAs will have integrated into their structures the decentralized departments of other Ministries to make the Government’s decentralization effort become a reality. The service provides technical assistance to MMDAs to enable them effectively perform their functions; conduct organizational and job analysis for MMDAs and RCCs; design and coordinate management systems and processes for MMDAs and RCCs; and assist MMDAs and RCCs to perform their functions. Prof Boachie Danquah, the first Chairman of the Local Government Council sees the mandate of the service as dealing in local government human resource and advising assemblies on their training needs. He believes that despite the challenges that face the LGS, the service continue to deliver upon its mandate to local authorities in Ghana. In capacitating MMDAs in developing strong human resource departments, Prof. Danquah hopes to see MMDAs take over the mandate of the LGS by the next ten years and beyond.

INSTITUTE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STUDIES (ILGS)

The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) is a public management development institution established under an Act of Parliament, 647 of 2003. The Institute was commissioned in 1999 as a project of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as part of efforts by the government of Ghana to equip the local government system to play a pivotal role in development and poverty reduction. The mission of the Institute is to strengthen the capacities of district assemblies, regional coordinating councils and other interested parties to deliver efficient and effective local governance in Ghana by providing excellent management education, training and development, research and consultancy and information mobilization services.

The main functions of the Institute as per Section 4 of Act 647 are to: Arrange courses, workshops, seminars and conferences for persons engaged in areas of local governance; Prescribe the qualification of persons eligible for training at the Institute; Undertake and promote research in local government; Develop training materials for members of the Regional Co-coordinating Councils, District Assemblies, and other local government units; Publish literature relevant to local government; Develop specialized libraries for purposes of local government; Provide consultancy and advisory services to the Central Government, units of local government and any other body that may require those services; Collaborate with national and international institutions of relevance in the performance of its functions; Award certificates, diplomas and higher qualifications as may be agreed upon by the Institute and approved by the national Accreditation Board and Perform other functions assigned to it by the sector Minister. In the view of Dean of Graduate Studies and Research of the Institute, the ILGS was established to build the capacities of district level actors to ensure the availability of the requisite capacity needed for local government functions (implement policies). He believes the ILGS has performed its functions on a limited basis because of the unavailability of direct funds from central government to support its activities. The Institute is not able to organize structured capacity building programmes due to unavailability of funds. The institute currently resorts to piece meal capacity building programmes which does not auger well for local government system in Ghana.

THE DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES’ COMMON FUND (DACF)

The District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) is a pool of resources created under section 252 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana. It is a minimum of 7.5% of the national revenue set aside to be shared among all District Assemblies in Ghana with a formula approved by Parliament. The fund is a Development Fund which enables the use of the nation’s wealth throughout Ghana to the benefit of all citizens. The vision of the DACF is to be “an institution of choice for the administration and transfer of funds to MMDAS to reduce poverty in their respective areas of jurisdiction”. The Office of the administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund exists to essentially administer and disburse funds effectively and efficiently through the use of information technology to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

The functions of the DACF includes the following :to propose a formula annually for the distribution of the Common Fund for approval by Parliament; to administer and distribute monies paid into the Common Fund among the District Assemblies in accordance with the Formula approved by Parliament; Check and monitor the use of the fund by the District assemblies; to report in writing to Parliament and the Minister of MLGRD on how allocations made from the Common Fund to the District Assemblies have been utilized by the District Assemblies; and to perform any other functions that may be directed by the President. In the view of Mr. Joshua Magnus Nicol, the immediate past Administrator of the Fund, the DACF has lived up to its mandate as stated in the Constitution. He hopes that in the near future, at least 20% of the national revenue will be given to local governments to facilitate development.

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF GHANA - NALAG

The National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana - NALAG is the umbrella organization of all Local Government Authorities in Ghana. These Local Authorities include all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana. NALAG was established in November 1977 and was then called the National Association of Local Councils (NALCO) as the representative body for local government authorities in Ghana. NALCO was a merger of two separate Associations, The Association of Urban Councils and the Association of Rural Councils. The merger was necessitated by the realization that the two associations were pursuing virtually the same interest and had similar objectives. Following the restructuring of local government bodies in Ghana due the new decentralization policy introduced by the then government of Ghana in 1988, NALCO became the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG). NALAG is a voluntary organization whose membership is open to all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, created by law in Ghana. The Principal Aims of the Association include representing all District Assemblies (Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies) in Ghana; promoting the rights, interest and privileges of all member local Authorities as affected by enacted and future legislations and to assist in maintaining a high standard of local government administration and service delivery; providing a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas, view points and information on matters of common interest relating to local government administration and service delivery with a view of helping member Local Authorities to solve their problems; improving partnership with central government in the implementation and monitoring of its programmes in the districts; providing a channel for effective communication between member local government authorities and the central government; and promoting effective and efficient local government administration through affiliation with international local government organizations (Local Government Associations. Civil Society Organizations, Development Organizations) with similar objectives .NALAG achieves its aims and objectives through advocacy, lobbying, research, city-to citylinks or municipal cooperation, dissemination of information and training. In the view of Hon. Augustine Nii Amoah Nai, the current First Vice President of NALAG, the association is not playing its role very well. Being the mouthpiece of MMDAs in Ghana, NALAG must be proactive on pertinent issues pertaining to local government in Ghana. NALAG should rise to advocate against the political interference, impositions and directives from the central government and deductions from the DACF. To His Excellency Emmanuel Adzei Annag , a former general secretary and President of NALAG, the association is to seek the welfare of assemblies through advocacy and lobbying, a function the association is currently not living up to. The association is not been effective in advocacy and training for assemblies due to the over partisan involvement in NALAG which is supposed to be an association for constitutionally mandated non-partisan assemblies. He cites the instance when government appointees (MMDCEs) become president and or general secretaries, the advocacy mandate of NALAG is hindered since these government appointees are not usually able to take on their appointing governments on issues pertaining to assemblies. Hon. George Kyei Baffour also thinks the partisan involvement in NALAG and the association’s leadership structure has made the association an appendage of government. This has affected the efficacy of the association’s operations.

DECENTRALIZATION IMPLEMENTATION AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN GHANA

On decentralization implementation and the practice of local government in Ghana, Hon. Amoah Nai believes that the practice of local government in Ghana is “perceived”. He states the undue interference in local government by central government. He is saddened by the 30% government appointee  component of the assembly membership which has been abused by appointing party activists to the assemblies instead of technocrats to provide the needed technical backstopping at the assemblies. Hon. Amoah Nai will like to in the near future see some significant changes in our practice of local government. He suggests the election of MMDCEs, assemblies given the mandate to recruit their own  staff and the setting some criteria to ensure that those who get elected to the assemblies can at least read and write Hon. George Kyei Baffour also cites central government interference in local government by issuing directives, impositions and even deductions from the DACF. To him, the constitution provides a great framework and vision for local government in Ghana however governments over the years in Ghana acted in ways that are defeating the noble purpose of decentralization. He mentions the abuse of the appointing system where governments are continually appointing party activists to assemblies instead of technocrats. He is advocating strongly for partisan local government, clear direction on the operationalization of the DACF. He is also calling for the amendment of the Ghana Education Service Ghana Health Service, Public Procurement, Internal Audit Agency and the Local Government Service Acts to give the assemblies more autonomy. Mr. Joshua Nicol, former administrator of the DACF thinks Ghana has a long way to go with the practice of decentralization and local government claiming that most things are on paper but not in practice. He is calling for the abolishment of the 30% appointee component of the assemblies as in his view the appointees come in to represent government and not the people since the people already elects their preferred representatives to the assemblies. He believes the current 7.5% of total national revenue given to the assemblies should be increased to a minimum of 10% and assemblies should be given the autonomy to find other sources of revenue. Prof. Boachie Danquah believes that a well structured, proper functioning local government system providing excellent service delivery to the local people is a prerequisite for Ghana to move forward. In his assessment of decentralization implementation in Ghana, he ranked Ghana four points on a scale of zero to ten citing the partisan politicization of the assemblies which are by law supposed to be non partisan. He mentions delays in disbursing the DACF are affecting the work of assemblies. He believes that if the MMDAs are able develop strong human resource departments, assemblies can take over the function of the LGS in the years ahead and admonished MMDAs to sit up in IGF generation .Dr. Eric Oduro Osae is of the view that local government in Ghana is not fully devolved. He reiterates the consistent central government interference in local government. He posits that more work should be done towards the full devolution of local government where assemblies will have the full power to recruit and dismiss their own staff. Where assemblies can be on their own, go to the stock and international market to borrow, truly independent corporate local government. Dr. Osae wants assemblies to be given the opportunity to hire and fire their own human resource; given the opportunity to mobilize all revenue within their is calling for MMDCEs to be elected on competitive jurisdiction; given the opportunity to have control over their own budget. He basis to ensure the assemblies are efficiently managed He moots that though Ghana is a unitary state, there can still be a fully devolved local government with three key functions left solely for central government: external defense, general development ie highways; and military activities with the police , prisons and other services given to the local governments as done in the United Kingdom. In Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye’s view, the local government system and decentralization process in Ghana is good and it is helping in devolving governance at the doorstep of the people and also to get more people in decision making as well. According to him, there are problems encountered in fiscal decentralization but thinks local government systems and decentralization in Ghana is doing very well. He wants to see changes in how people are elected to the assemblies. In his view, the notion that the district assemblies are just for anybody should be discarded and elect competent people who have an appreciation of policy making, people who can sit down and critically analyze development agenda of the district assemblies, and be able to fashion out the best method to be used to achieve set goals and objectives for people of the districts. He thinks that the assemblies should have the confidence to run business where the district assemblies have comparative advantage in; such as production of crops and transport to earn the assemblies some income for other developmental projects. Moreover he wants a true local government where government would impact directly on the lives of the people and the people will feel the presence of good local governance in their homes, communities and towns and where issues concerning health, education and economic empowerment would be addressed through the district assemblies.

Hon. Maxwell Kofi Jumah argues that the current system as practiced is believed to be a replica from the French and Dutch but suffered a still birth upon its adoption in Ghana with no hope in it for the future. He views the ideal local government as a tool used to promulgate developments that will bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and ultimately bring governance to the doorstep of the people. He is of the opinion that local government has become an instrument for political patronage more than an instrument for bringing development to the people. He also believes Ghana’s current local government is more on paper than in practice, with the understanding of local governance not fully embraced. He wants to see local government practiced in a way targeted at bringing development to the people. He suggests a decentralized legal and judicial system to bring muscle to our local government. He also believes in decentralizing the police service by capacitating metro and city guards by giving them police powers with proper national supervision. Hon. Joseph Yileh Chireh, Former Minister, MLGRD ,stressed that decentralization should be fully practiced to ensure prompt transfer of resources to local governments to guarantee that they perform their functions effectively. Governments must show more commitment to transfer resources to local governments and allow more autonomy to local governments but ensuring local governments are accountable to the people.

To Hon. Adzei Anang, decentralization entails sending power, means, and human resource down to the local governments so the impact of the central government can be felt at the local level. He is however worried about the partisan politicization of assemblies though assemblies by law are supposed to be non-partisan. The deliberative functions of the asD semblies in recent times are not been done well.

Unnecessary postponement of assembly meetings with the view of increasing the amount paid for sitting allowance. He has noted that the DACF is becoming a disincentive; it has led to the neglect of IGF. The over concentration on DACF has made IGF a booty for some personnel at the assemblies. He suggests that the DACF should be administered like the DDF in respect to IGF. Financially weak assemblies should be the focus of DACF with metros and financially strong municipals weaned off the DACF in redefining the coverage of the DACF. He expressed worry about the 30% government appointee component of the assembly membership which has been abused by appointing party activists to the assemblies instead of technocrats to provide the needed technical backstopping at the assemblies. To him, the 30% appointees should be technocrats as envisioned from the start of the decentralization process to beef up the competence of the assembly. He thinks the MLGRD should become a secretariat under the Presidency as done in Uganda if MMDAs are to absorb decentralized ministries and workers at the assemblies absorbed into the assemblies for effective monitoring and evaluation. He is calling for strong adherence to the principles of decentralization and the appointment of competent and performing persons to man the system. From the views above and popular views on the streets, Ghana’s decentralization programme seems to be visibly suffering from a functionalist fallacy. However, the many challenges encountered in the implementation of decentralization in Ghana should serve as stepping stones that will compel the adoption of best practices in local governance. The institutions involved in the process and central government must make all possible commitments to deepen decentralization in Ghana by working on their respective shortfalls to ensure accelerated development. Considering the mandates of the institutions involved in the decentralization process and how these institutions have performed their mandates over time, it is clear that though the outcomes of Ghana’s decentralization journey to this point may not commensurate the mood of optimism and the tremendous promise that heralded its adoption in the country, the few strides made show the potential and give sufficient hope for the realization of all possible benefits of decentralization.



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