Citizens participate effectively in local governance

Accra, Mr Clement Tandoh, Chief of Party (COP), Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM), said under the mechanism, 120 out of the targeted 216 capital projects in 100 District Assemblies have been completed.

The capital projects included the construction of classroom blocks, clinics, CHPS compounds, market sheds, water facilities and toilets.

Mr Tandoh disclosed this at a two-day workshop organized by the GSAM Consortium that brought together stakeholders to reflect on the implementation of citizens’ participation in governance at the local levels.

He attributed the over 50 per cent timely completion of those projects to the active participation of the public with their local government authorities to demand accountability and get their concerns addressed.

The forum also served as a platform for participants selected from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Municipal, Metropolitan, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as well as Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) from the Eastern, Western, Central and Volta Regions.

It was to share ideas and learn best practices on how to improve citizen monitoring and participation in capital project planning and implementation.

The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and being implemented by the GSAM Consortium, which includes; CARE International, OXFAM, ISODEC, Ghana Audit Service, and the participating MMDAs.

Mr Tandoh explained that successive governments had made efforts to ensure that governance was closer to the doorstep of the people through the decentralization and maintaining constant engagement between assemblies and the public to ensure development but the objective had not been fully achieved.

He noted that, through the GSAM project, which sought to ensure social accountability, it has improved the oversight of capital projects in 100 districts.

As part of their implementation activities, Mr Tandoh said the various CSOs have been schooled in basic knowledge on project implementations processes from bidding to completion and handing over.

Over 1,000 community volunteers have been trained in the use of ICT to gather real-time data on MMDA capital project processes. This was aimed at enhancing their capacity to mobilise other citizens to monitor capital projects in their communities.

We have given them tablets to take pictures and sent to a dedicated platform, where technical people analyse and prompt the district assemblies involved to take the necessary actions, he said.

Over 100 district town-hall meetings had been organized, where citizens and local government authorities dialogue on capital project planning and implementation in their districts, with 4,747 people taking part in the engagements, Mr Tandoh said.

Touching on other gains made, he said, some assemblies, including the Builsa North District Assembly, had taken concrete steps to address the weaknesses exposed by the Ghana Audit Service’s performance audits, particularly in the area of procurement and project execution.

Mr Samuel Addai Boateng, GSAM Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, said 37 per cent of citizens across the operational area demonstrated their knowledge of the component of capital projects, including the source of funding, contract sum, contract duration and the name of the contractor.

He said untimely transfer of funds to MMDAs was a major cause of delays in the completion of projects.

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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