Delivering on our promises
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACHIEVEMENTS
One important ingredient for national development is the involvement of the people especially at the local level in the daily activities of government. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has mission of the ministry to “ensure good governance and balanced development of Metropolitan / Municipal / District Assemblies”. The Ministry derives its mandate from the 1992 Constitution and Section 12 of the PNDC Law 327 which provides the responsibilities of ministries.
The ministry has a vision to “promote substantial and equitable economic growth through citizen participation and accelerated service delivery at the local level within a decentralized environment.” Various governments have instituted policies and programs to realise this mission and vision of the ministry. This paper focuses its attention on what the ministry has done in this regard since 2017.
To increase participation of the citizenry in democratic governance, the government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development created 38 new municipal and district assemblies, which had been successfully inaugurated and are in operation. The ministry on Thursday November 16, 2017, laid before Parliament a Legislative Instrument (LI) for the creation of some new districts in the country. The LI, which matured in 21 sitting days, carved some municipalities from other assemblies, and also elevated already existing districts to municipality status.
Explaining the reason behind the creation of these districts, the minister responsible for the ministry, Hajia Alima Mahama, said, “We’ve decided that we need to deepen our democratic process and decentralization system. We started district assembly concept in 1988, the population of some of the district assemblies have even doubled. And the essence of our local government system is to ensure that all persons in the district participate in the governance system and feel part of the governance system.” Related to this, the minister revealed that contracts had been awarded for the construction of 20 district assembly administration blocks for assemblies created in 2007.
Nomination and confirmation of MMDCEs has always been a headache for the ministry and various assemblies. However, as at May 2018, 200 out of a total of 216 MMDEs had been approved and confirmed by the various assemblies. It is also important to note that the Ministry achieved 16 per cent representation of female MMDCEs (numbering 34) as against 8.8 per cent in 2016. What this means is, more women remain largely unrepresented at the local governance level.
The ministry has revealed that it has minimised central level procurements for MMDAs using the District Assembly Common Fund. In this regard, the government through the ministry has therefore from 2016 to 2018, increased the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) net transfers to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) by 43.78 per cent. According to the minister, the government, in 2017 transferred a total of GHS663, 183,000 to the MMDAs as against GHS461, 245,117 transferred in 2016. The amount the total net transfers to the MMDAs in 2018 also increased to GHS 863,500,195.00. in terms of percentage, The Minister indicated that the Direct Transfers to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) increased from 35.10 per cent in 2016 to 46.52 per cent in 2017 and then to 53 per cent in 2018.
To enhance training on local governance, the Ministry has signed preliminary contract with Inspur Group of China for $39 million facility for the computerization and upgrading of teaching and learning programmes for t the Institute of Local Government Studies to ensure distance learning for the Accra and Tamale campuses. This will not only create more access but also improve training on local governance.
The ministry has also reviewed and implemented new MMDA Fee Fixing Guidelines. The review and issuance of the MMDAs Fee-Fixing Guidelines which took place in 2017, according to the minister, has resulted in several MMDAs identifying new revenue items which they initially could not foresee, adding that, it was part of measures towards improving their Internally Generated Fund (IGF) mobilization by the MMDAs. She also indicated that the revenue mobilisation interventions had resulted in an improvement in IGF of the MMDAs, whose IGF had increased by three per cent from 2016 to 2017 and by 18 per cent from 2017 to 2018. The minister revealed that “the implementation of the pragmatic initiatives have increased IGF as a share of MMDAs total revenue from 18 per cent between the periods of 2013 – 2016 to 23.51 per cent for the 2017 – 2018 period”.
On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the government launched Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) to argument existing flagship program Planting For Food and jobs. The programme which seeks to create a sustainable raw material base for farmers across the country to increase Ghana’s revenue in the exportation of agricultural products also intends to use a decentralised National Tree Crop Programme to promote rural economic growth and improve household incomes of rural farmers through the provision of certified improved seedlings, extension services, business support in order to increase exports.
Another objective of the program which is being implemented for 5 years and aims at reaching one million farmers to cultivate an average of one hectare of land each certified seeds will be given to farmers is to bring about diversification in the agricultural economy of the country. This, the ministry in partnership with the Agriculture ministry hope to attain this by bringing on board between 6 and 8 major cash crops. It has been designed with a focus on developing selected tree crops, namely, cashew, coffee, oil palm, shea, coconut, mango and rubber, for export. For a start, 32,591 hectares of tree crops are expected to be planted in 191 districts. It has been designed with a focus on developing selected tree crops, namely, cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, mango and rubber, for export.
The Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) has a potential to generate over 12 billion dollars in export. According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, the six selected crops have the potential to outstrip cocoa and diversify the country’s economy from the over-reliance on only one crop as the major export commodity. He reiterated that “the Ghana Beyond Aid vision can only be achieved if we are able to increase our agricultural export capacity, this is what we hope to do through the PERD programme. The six crops combined can each fetch us $2BN in terms of exporting the raw materials alone and this does not include value addition.”
- Ministry has signed preliminary contract with Inspur Group of China for $39 million facility for the computerization and upgrading of teaching and learning programmes of the Institute of Local Government Studies to ensure distance learning for the Accra and Tamale campuses.
- The ministry has reviewed MMDA Fee Fixing Guidelines. The implementation of the review and other pragmatic initiatives has let to the increased in IGF as a share of MMDAs total revenue from 18 per cent between the periods of 2013 – 2016 to 23.51 per cent for the 2017 – 2018.
- The ministry in partnership with the Agriculture ministry introduced the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) seeks to create a sustainable raw material base for farmers across the country to increase Ghana’s revenue in the exportation of agricultural products also intends to use a decentralised National Tree Crop Programme to promote rural economic growth and improve household incomes of rural farmers through the provision of certified improved seedlings, extension services, business support in order to increase exports.