Managing municipalities as businesses, not bureaucracies. By Dr Nicholas Awortwi
I recently interviewed a resident of Asafon New Town in the Ga North Municipality about local governments (LGs) and this is what he said: "Tell me, what do they do? (Referring to municipalities). "I've no seen a single municipal official. Property rates should fix our drainage and roads but officials sit in their offices and have no engagement with us. "Residents built the road you see here; a few people have constructed private drains in front of their houses; we fixed the streetlights; we buy water from private boreholes; and we pay people to collect our garbage. What is the use of the Municipal Assembly to us?
Time to transform decentralisation, local governance framework. By Dr Nicholas Awortwi
In 1988, Ghana began a decentralisation policy framework that focused on grass-roots citizens' participation for effective and efficient services delivery. Since then, the number of local government (LG) authorities have more than doubled and the average number of residents in an LG jurisdiction has reduced substantially. As a result, the government is closer to the people, but services have not been delivered responsively, effectively and efficiently.
The Local Government Service (LGS) was established in 2003 with the enactment of Act 656. This is in response to the constitutional provision in Article 240, 2(d) that as far as practicable, persons in the service of local government shall be subject to the effective control of local authorities. The same article mentions measures for (i) capacity-building (ii) a sound financial base and (iii) participation for effective job performance of local authorities in justifying the transfer of functions, powers, responsibilities and resources from the centre to local government units.
The impact of decentralization on local governance in Ghana since the implementation of reforms in 1988 started by Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) for substantial realignment of functions between central government sector ministries and decentralized bodies was highlighted. A democratic government was imposed to overcome the inadequate impact of decentralization on local governance in its Comprehensive Decentralization Policy Framework, a three-phased implementation structure. The constitution of Ghana included the objectives of decentralization under the National Decentralization Action Plan (NDAP) quoting the promotion of popular participation, by enhancing the efficiency of the entire government's machinery. District Authorities (DA) play a vital role in ostentation of local governance and democracy to contribute to development efforts and dealing with growing demands resulting from poverty, unemployment and conflict.
Admissions are now open into our graduate programmes including
- MSc. Environmental Science, Policy and Management,
- MSc. Local Economic Development,
- MSc. Public Financial Management and
- M.A Local Economic Development.
The Institute runs three major programmes for its prospective students. For professionals who desire to advance their knowledge in their chosen field, there are professional development courses they could go for. And for those who desire to have their first or second degree in local government related courses, or pursue both degrees, there are courses available for them as well. Also, those who wish to have a diploma certificate in public development will find a diploma programme available for them.
Online admissions are opened all year into our graduate programmes and soon to be advertised our undergraduate programmes.
ILGS has been undertaking local government capacity building and training for the past twenty years. This culminated into mounting graduate level masters programmes since 2011. We are happy to deepen and promote local government research at all levels and to affect policy.