My gov has made gains in decentralisation -Prez
President John Dramani Mahama, on Tuesday, said government had achieved tremendous gains towards strengthening the local government and decentralisation sector since assumption of office in 2009.
He said the party, in its 2008 Manifesto, promised to strengthen the sub-district structures, which had been fulfilled by the passage of the Legislative Instrument 1967, changing the Unit Committee from geographical to a functional concept.
The Unit Committees jurisdiction has now been made coterminous with that of the electoral area, and the membership reduced from 15 to five. “We promised to hold a National Stakeholder Conference on Decentralisation to drive the decentralisation programme.
“We have done that. Which culminated in the Decentralisation Policy Framework and the National Decentralizsation Action Plan, which were launched in November 2010,” he said. President Mahama outlined the NDC government’s achievements in the local government and decentralisation sector, in a speech read on his behalf, during the launch of Best Local Governance and Decentralisation Journalist of the Year Award Scheme in Accra.
The award scheme was also to whip-up the interest of Ghanaian journalists in the area, to raise awareness among the populace on issues about decentralisation.
President Mahama said the promise to strengthen and provide logistics for assembly members had also been kept by the provision of over 9,000 motorbikes and 170 four wheel drive station wagons to all assembly members and an orientation programme for them.
The President said the NDC government had also fulfilled the promise to publish the resources transferred from the Central Government to the District Assemblies.
He said this publication in the newspapers had enhanced transparency and created means for more effective monitoring mechanisms of the annual allocations to both the District Assemblies Common Fund and District Development facility, among several others.
Mr. Ben Hagan, Secretary to the Cabinet, who chaired the function, said the award scheme would further serve as a form of motivation to journalists in the country in their quest to educate and inform the public, and highlight various efforts that were being made by stakeholders to achieve the objectives set out in the policy and Action Plan.
Mr. Blight Blewu, General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), congratulated the IMCC for the foresight, and urged journalists to take advantage of the scheme to achieve the goal.
The Award Scheme was initiated by the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralisation (IMCC) to encourage Ghanaian journalists to report on issues concerning decentralisation and local governance in the country.
The scheme, “Best Journalist in Local Governance and Decentralisation Reporting,” would be an annual event incorporated into the GJA annual awards, and would follow the laid down policy and procedure of the GJA.
For the first year, the winner would receive a television set, a laptop, an internet modem and a cash prize of GH¢2,000, which would be reviewed periodically.
The IMCC, with membership from the ministries of Local government and Rural Development; Food and Agriculture, Health, Education, Justice and Attorney General, among others, was composed by the government to pursue the agenda of the new Decentralisation Policy and Framework and the new National Decentralisation action Plan launched in November, 2010.
The policy sought, among other things, to provide conceptual clarity on what decentralisation means within the Ghanaian context. It also provided guidelines on the concepts of local level democracy and development.
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