The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) to work with all relevant state and non-state actors to ensure accelerated development at the local level of governance.
Dr Bawumia told them to apply a mix of innovation, dialogue and collaboration with their peers to speed up the development process at the local level.
He said it was important that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, who had been mandated by law to lead development at the local level, did so with a sense of urgency.
Addressing participants at the 21st Biennial National Delegates Conference of NALAG in Kumasi on Thursday, the Vice President emphasized that all stakeholders needed to approach their mandates with renewed vigour, especially in the wake of the ravages of the Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“It cannot be over-emphasized that for us to bounce back together, a great responsibility lies with our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies maximizing the development agenda at the local level.
“Decentralization and local government administration are the fulcrum around which democracy and citizens’ participation is given expression at the grassroots. It is therefore imperative to indicate that our MMDAs are not only for political participation but agents for national economic development,” Dr Bawumia indicated.
In recognition of the crucial role played by local authorities, the government has, through the decentralization policy framework, included Local Economic Development (LED) as one of the five key pillars underpinning the country’s National Decentralization Policy and Strategy (2020-2024), the Vice President explained.
“This is to move the MMDAs from provision of essential services to promotion of enabling environment for the private sector to partner with local authorities to develop and sustain businesses, create jobs and reduce poverty through mobilization of local natural and human resources, as well as, value addition.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to rethink local development approaches and re-orient local economies away from unsustainable development pathways. We need conscious bottom-up’ approaches to local development at this time.
“MMDAs should move away from just providing essential services to becoming agents for development by harnessing all the natural, material and human resources within their jurisdiction to bring the needed development, create jobs, reduce poverty, increase income levels and raise the needed Internally Generated Fund (IGF) to complement other sources of funding from central government.
“As MMDAs you must re-evaluate your local strengths and weaknesses in light of changing roles you have to play to meet the needs of your respective citizens. We are aware that some MMDAs are already engaged in the process of revitalizing their local economy and I believe others will follow the trail. You need to reconsider the growth you desire for your District taking into consideration resilience and inclusivity,” he explained.
Dr Bawumia assured NALAG of the government’s commitment to meeting the manpower needs of local authorities, with the expansion of the infrastructure of the Institute of Local Government Studies and the construction of a Local Government University at Akomadan in the Offinso North Municipality in the Ashanti Region to augment the training capacity deficit.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD