THE Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, has said any review of the Constitution must enhance the country’s development agenda, instead of compounding it.
He, therefore, stressed a need for a radical shift in the current decentralisation policy to reflect the country’s development agenda.
“What must engage the attention of Ghanaians, especially local government practitioners, is the need for a shift in the current decentralisation policy to reflect the development needs of the country,” he argued.
Mr Nyamkye-Marfo said this at a workshop to review two decades of decentralisation and the district assembly system in the country.
The workshop, organised in Sunyani on Thursday, was attended by 85 local government practitioners, notably presiding members from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and the three northern regions.
It was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Project (SRLP) and Africa 2000 Network, under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the National Association of Local Authorities Ghana (NALAG).
The regional minister said the current discussion going on to solicit views for a review of the country’s decentralisation policy must go beyond a call for the election of district chief executives.
Mr Nyamkye-Marfo suggested that there should be a realignment of roles, responsibilities and duties of key players in the decentralisation policy, saying that if that was done, it would enrich the policy and prevent any conflict in the roles and duties of the various actors.
The Brong Ahafo Region Minister added that over the years the system had been facing challenges which included the non-functional sub-structures, the delay in the release of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), deductions made from the DACF, inadequate qualified staff, among others.
Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Sherif, the General Secretary of NALAG, in his remarks, paid glowing tribute to those who engaged themselves in the decentralisation process, and noted that the review of the concept should help accelerate the development pace of the nation, especially at the grass-roots level.
He announced that through the efforts of NALAG, the government had approved the purchase of motorbikes for assembly members nationwide and gave an assurance that very soon every assembly member would be riding on his motorbike to facilitate their work at the assembly and within their various electoral areas.
Mr Joe Appeah, a facilitator at the workshop and Chief Executive Officer of the Pentex Management Consultancy, who took participants through the topic, “Two Decades of Decentralisation in Ghana: Issues for discussion”, stated that the country would only be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when decentralisation, the district assembly system and other institutions at the grass-roots levels were assisted to build capacities and function effectively.
Mr Agyenim Boateng, the Presiding Member of the Sunyani West District Assembly, who chaired the function, in his remarks, stated that the review of the decentralisation process was an issue of national importance and every deliberation on it should go beyond partisan consideration to help enhance the concept.