Professor Stephen Adei, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the Ashesi University, has expressed worry about the inability of major cities in Ghana to mobilise adequate resources to run their jurisdictions.
He said after 30 years of running the local government system that set up the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), it is disappointing to note that cities like Accra, Kumasi, Tema and the like cannot raise enough revenue and labour for their administration and development needs.
He, therefore, urged the government to “be bold and cut off Accra, Kumasi, etc. from government support,” to end the dependency syndrome affecting the local government and decentralization programme.
The professor said the continuous disbursement of the District Assembly Common Funds (DACF) to all MMDA’s in Ghana is pampering a good number of them who should be able to mobilise adequate revenue and manage their own development without government support or interference.
Prof. Adei, who was speaking at the Fourth Bi-Annual Professional Conference organised by the Office of the Head of Local Government Service Secretariat (OHLGS) at Ho, proposed that the DACF should not be equitably distributed, instead bigger assemblies like the Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and others should be weaned off and their funds sent to less endowed assemblies who need it most to bridge the development gaps there.
He lamented that Ghana’s decentralization programme under the local government system is yet to realise its full potential of facilitating development and good governance because of lack of political will, poor leadership development and the penchant of technocrat at the central level to control affairs locally.
He said for the decentralization agenda and the local government programme to achieve its full potential, governments should stop spending on behalf of local assemblies. And the situation where government projects cost 40 per cent higher than other projects was unacceptable.
Prof. Adei stressed that the over politicization of the local assembly process has led to a breakdown of local mobilization which is a dangerous development.
The Head of the OHLGS, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, who admitted that much work needed to be done to consolidate the gains by the local government programme announced that his outfit had developed plans to facilitate collaboration among the various ministries, departments and agencies at all levels.
The inter-service, sectoral collaboration and cooperation system is also expected to link all public service institutions, state-owned enterprises with the assemblies to ensure objectives and targets reached are mutually beneficial to all.
He pleaded with the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, who was the keynote speaker to support the new system to work by ensuring all state agencies at all levels buy into it.
The conference which was on the theme “Transforming Ghana through Effective Leadership, Coordination and Implementation of Government’s Policies at the Decentralized Level in the 30 Years of Ghana’s Decentralization,” had in attendance the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa; the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo; and the Vice- Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences. Also in attendants were professionals from the various MMDAs in the country.