Dr Franklin Oduro, Deputy Director in charge of Research and Programmes at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), on Wednesday stated that the country’s decentralisation structure is fraught with many challenges.
He said the issue of responsiveness and accountability by officialdom to the needs of the people at the local level had been evasive despite reforms in the decentralisation concept.
Dr Oduro was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Sekondi, to brief key stakeholders on the implementation of French Embassy projects in the Western Region.
He said findings from the recent Afro-barometer index and other studies conducted on citizen’s perceptions and participation in local governance, pointed to a general apathy on the part of the citizenry to participate fully in local government issues.
Dr Oduro said CDD-Ghana, a non-profit and advocacy organisation, on behalf of the French Embassy and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, would undertake an assessment of the Region to identify the specific needs of the people.
The assessment would provide enough information for the Embassy and the Ministry, to channel resources towards development needs.
Mr Lucien Bruneau, Technical Advisor in charge of Decentralisation and Public Sector Reform at the Embassy, gave the assurance that France is committed towards effective implementation of Ghana’s decentralisation policy.
He underscored the need for district assemblies to be independent, instead of relying solely on central government’s support for development projects.
Mr Bruneau advised the assemblies to generate funds internally in order to reduce the burden on central government.
Mr Ebenezer Kwodwo Teye Addo, Regional Minister, said the decentralisation policy is crucial towards the development efforts of the country.
“Issues of development rest with the local government,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the French government for its support to the region and appealed to the citizenry to cooperate with officials of the embassy to achieve set goals and objectives.
Mr Addo asked CDD-Ghana to be objective with the research findings so that appropriate development projects would be undertaken for the people. GNA