The government has signed GH¢3.2 million agreement with Switzerland to build capacity and deepen decentralisation at the country’s local government level.
This is to ensure a responsive, effective and efficient local governance system in the country.
The interventions, which will be piloted in 40 assemblies, will contribute to enhancing the technical and administrative capacities of local authorities.
Under the agreement, the Switzerland government will support the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) with GH¢3.2 million to build the capacity to the local government officials to enable them to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities.
The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Dan Kwaku Botwe, and the Director of ILGS, Prof. Nicholas Awortwi, signed on behalf of Ghana while the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, Mr Philipp Starlder, signed on behalf of the Swiss government in Accra.
Mr Botwe noted that the success of Ghana’s decentralisation programme hinged on the capacity levels of local government staff and functionaries.
Therefore, he said Parliament never got it wrong when it promulgated the respective laws for the establishment of both the Local Government Service and the ILGS.
He said the LGS, on the other hand, was mandated under the Local Government Studies Act, 2003 (Act 647) to organise the training of both staff and members of the local governments.
“That is to enhance their managerial, administrative, financial and operational efficiency,” he said.
Mr Botwe said both institutions recognised the importance of working together to ensure that the capacities of staff were adequate for the discharge of the mandates of local governments in Ghana.
He, however, noted that the desired pace of collaboration had been quite slow in recent times.
Mr Botwe said the interventions, though extremely important, had not yielded the requisite benefit as a wide range of actors, including sector ministries and agencies, development partners, civil society organisations (CSOs) and private consultants had provided training in a fragmented manner.
That, he said, had resulted in duplication, lack of sustainability and follow-up, gap in delivery and absence of Standardisation, among other constraints.
Given the present conditions of local development, Mr Botwe said there was the need for capacity building that emphasised both improvements in local governance processes and their outcomes.
It was his hope that the 40 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) would be representative of the diverse local government landscape of the country, including considerations for urban and rural settlements from each of the 16 regions.
“My ministry will work with the institute and other partners to complete this assignment on time and with the desired level of quality to ensure that the requisite lessons and insights are drawn to inform processes for a nation-wide rollout of this novelty in capacity building for the sector,” the minister said.