Governance is an important issue if development is to occur. It can be seen as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s (in this case a district’s) affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.
Good governance is, among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. It promotes effective and equitable application of the rule of law. Good governance ensures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of development resources.
The current local government system has a three-tier structure at the district level, which is made up of the District Assembly, the Urban/Town/Area Councils and the Unit Committees. The Birim North District Assembly is the highest administrative and political authority in the district with the mandate to initiate and coordinate all development efforts aimed at sustainable development at the local level.
To facilitate the process of the Local Government System, the Local Government Act (Act 462) makes provision for the establishment of the Decentralized Departments and other Sub-structures as the Area Councils and Unit Committees. The Birim North District is currently made up of 8 Area Councils. It has … Unit Committees and … Assembly persons. There are two Members of Parliament (MP) who are Ex-officio Members of the district assembly.
The Assembly is empowered to make and enforce By-laws. It exercises deliberative, legislative and executive functions in the district. The Presiding Member who is elected among the Assembly members chairs the Assembly’s meetings. The Executive Committee of the Assembly is chaired by the District Chief Executive (DCE) and discharges the Assembly’s Executive Powers. The District Administration, which is headed by the District Coordinating Director (DCD), has oversight responsibilities in the general administration.
Composition of the District Assembly
As shown in figure 10, the district assembly is supposed to operate as an eight-tier structure. There are vertical and horizontal linkages between the various hierarchies. The office of the District Executive is at the apex of the district administration, followed by the District Executive Committee, which serves as the executive, as well as the coordinating body of the Assembly.
The Executive committee is chaired by the District Chief Executive (DCE) who is appointed by the government. The DCE also serves as the political and administrative head of the District. The next level comprises five sub-committees and other one(s) the executive may determine. Theses sub-committees are Economic, Social Services, Technical and Infrastructure, Justice and Security and Administrative and Finance. They are to collate and deliberate on issues the executive committee may direct to them. Below the sub-committees is the office of the coordinating Director followed by two Deputy Directors in charge of the District Planning, Coordinating Unit and Administration respectively.
Seven sectoral departments operate on the next level. Four of these departments (Social, Economic, Spatial and Development Budget) report directly to the Deputy Director (DPBU). The other three, (Internal Administration and Budget, Treasury and Municipal Service) report to the Deputy Directors in charge of Administration. Cross departmental consultations exist between the institutions at this level. These last two levels are decentralized and non-decentralized institutions. These departments are linked by vertical Consultative relationships
The main problems of the Area Councils include the following:
• Inadequate Office Accommodation
• Inadequate Logistics
• Inadequate Support from the District Assembly
• Lack of commitment on the part of councilors
• Dormant Unit Committees
Among the resources needed for effective and efficient local government development are human resource (quantity and quality of personal) and institutional frame-work for carrying out development activities. Therefore, for the successful operation of decentralized planning at the district, the requisite number of departments, boards and corporations and respective personnel, facilities and all other logistic supports are needed together with financial resources. Many of the institutions face a number of problems that adversely affect their performance. These include inadequate staffing, inadequate office and decent residential accommodation, lack of logistic support, poor linkage and coordination among departments.
Relationship of District Assembly with Public Institutions
In principle, the District Administration is expected to be the prime coordinating point for the coordination and integration of all these agencies at the district level. Although these departments are supposed to maintain some ties with their mother departments at the regional and national levels, they are required to operate under the administrative umbrella of the District Chief Executive. Currently, the decentralized public sector institutions do collaborate with the District Assembly in the following ways:-
All the heads of decentralized departments are ex-officio members of the District Assembly. They are required to attend and participate in the deliberations of the Assembly. Their main task is to give expert advice in their fields of specialty to the Assembly. In fact, they form a consultative body within the Assembly but operate on instructions from their national and regional offices and hence not fully committed to the programmes of the Assembly. This problem can be addressed fully when the composite budget system is introduced.
Inter-Organizational Relationship and Planning Procedures
In keeping with the provisions of Act 462, plans or projects are initiated at two levels: the local community and the District Plan Coordinating Unit (DPCU). The Regional Coordinating council serves as an advisory body which advises the districts with common problems to initiate joint-projects within their framework of national development policy. Unlike the previous local government system which was characterised by the imposition of projects on communities, the new decentralized system encourages the participation of people and groups in the determination of their felt needs through consultations and discussions led by units committees, zonal councils and electoral areas members and chiefs.
Communities are involved in decision making process in the district. Especially in the preparation of this current plan, communities members, opinion leaders, unit committee members and traditional leaders were involve at every stage of the planning process. Through these consultations, the communities were able to arrive at a consensus on what their priority projects are. There is already in existence the communal spiritedness which needs to be harnessed for development purposes effectively.
Following project planning and selection at the community level, the various communities submit their selected projects to the District Assembly for debate, appraisal and approval. Comments from the Assembly and its Executive committee on such projects are reported back to the electorate for review if necessary. One criterion for approval is that the projects submitted by the communities should fall within the district and national development priorities. At this level, the technical expertise of the decentralised institutions is brought to bear on the debate and choices of the Assembly. After the debate, the final decisions on the projects are taken by the Executive Committee.
The Assembly may contribute to the implementation of the selected community projects by giving cash or inputs such as building materials, machinery and equipment, skilled personnel etc. The community members are mobilized for communal labour during the implementation of the projects. Monitoring of projects in most cases is done by the technical staff of the Assembly and Community Project Implementation Teams.
It is important to note that the final approval of all projects regardless of the source of initiation lies with the District Assembly. The DPCU of the District Assembly goes through the following operational procedures in producing an Annual Action Plan and Budget:-
1. DPCU prepares annual plans and budgets as directed by the NDPC, after consultation with sectoral agencies in the district, and submit these to the Executive Committees.
2. The Executive Committee discusses the annual plans and budgets prepared by the DPCU and table these with or without amendments to the District Assembly.
3. The District Assembly discusses the plans, the budgets and adopts them with or without amendment.
4. The DPCU resents the adopted plans and budgets to the Regional Planning and Co-ordination Unit (RPCU) for review and harmonization.
5. The RPCU presents the harmonized plans and budgets to the Regional Coordinating council (RCC) for final adoption.
6. The RCC finally presents the annual plans and budgets to the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).
Sources of District Revenue
The main sources of revenue to the District Assembly are Government Grants and Internally Generated Funds. The Internally Generated Funds sources include Rates, Lands, Fees and Fines, Licenses, Rents, money from Investments and Business Operations. The Government Grants includes funds from the District Assembly Common Fund, Ghana Education Trust Fund, HIPC Funds and others.
From the figures presented over the period, it could be seen that IGF mobilization kept on increasing over the period, so was the amount of funds received through grants.
The district Assembly has not got enough and strong vehicles to move round the district to collect revenue. Also many of the people of the district who are supposed to are not paying due inadequate education on the need to pay their taxes. Also, most of the tax collectors are not equipped with current methods of revenue collection and this therefore impeded revenue generation in the district. It is believed that if these measures are addressed, there would a huge increase in IGF mobilization.
There are three Traditional Areas in the District. These are Akyem Kotoku, Akyem Abuakwa and Akyem Bosome. The predominant among them is the Kotoku Traditional Authority, which consists over 85% of the people. It has its traditional headquarters at Akim Oda. The Abuakwa towns are Chia Adubiase and Odumase whilst Ofoase, Brenase and Anyinase constitute the Bosome towns in the district. Apart from these indigenous people there are a large number of settlers in the District. These include Asantes, Kwahus, Ga-Adangbes, Ewes, Akuapems and Fantes.
The District Assembly is the overseer of the plan implementation; as such it is the duty of the District Administration to put in place appropriate policies, and guidelines that will enable smooth implementation of the plan.
It is expected that the District Assembly will perform the following functions:
• The Assembly should identify appropriate response to implement bottlenecks e.g. legal, professional and administrative issues.
• It should provide guidance for programme and project implementation.
• It should identify, invite, persuade, and attract potential investors into the district.
• The Assembly should monitor, evaluate and provide periodic revision of the plan implementation procedure and effect adjustment in response to changing circumstances.
• It should facilitate effective and efficient information flow system to enable all parties involved in the implementation of the plan to know what is happening when and where.
• The Assembly should also upgrade the level of competence and technical capacities of the staff of the District Departments who are expected to play leading roles in the implementation of the plan. To do this, series of training programmes can be organized for them. For areas where personnel are simply absent, the Assembly should facilitate the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel to man such areas.
• The Unit Committees provided for by Section 3(3) of the Local Government Act. 1993 (Act 462) should be established. These committees when vested with the required powers and authority will take advantage of their proximity to the people at the grassroots to ensure effective implementation of development programmes and projects spelt out in the plan.
• The Assembly should see to it that District Departments that are supposed to exist in the district as provided under Section 38 of the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462) but which do not exist are all established and provided with staff and logistic.
• As a backing to the institutional and legal arrangements, the following administrative arrangements are required to foster the successful implementation of the plan.
• The Assembly should streamline and coordinate the activities of NGOs to avoid duplication.
1. They should also be integrated into the set-up of the Assembly so that their projects do not go at variance with those in the development plan.
2. The role of the chieftaincy institution in the implementation of the plan can not be over-emphasised. Chiefs in the district play and will continue to play leading roles in matters relating to land allocation for labour payment of development levies, taxes and the creation of a congenial atmosphere of orderliness and understanding. It is therefore a matter of prime importance for the Birim North District Assembly to collaborate with all chiefs in the district to ensure a successful implementation of the plan.
3. The medium-term development plan is a reflection of the collective aspirations and visions of the people in the district. It is therefore important that the Assembly ensures the participation of the community in all aspects of the plan implementation process. In particular, workshops can be organised occasionally for heads of District Departments, traditional authorities, Assembly members, unit committee members and the like to educate them on organizational relationships monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
4. The District Assembly should set up a Plan Implementation Committee whose membership will be the chairman of the six sub-committees under the Executive committee and the Presiding Member who will chair the committee.
The functions of the PIC would include the following:
• Ensuring that budgetary allocations and expenditures of the District Assembly are directed by the plan;
• Liaise with appropriate agencies in the execution of projects;
• Assist in addressing problems or obstacles which may inhibit the successful implementation of specific projects; and
• Be actively involved in the maintenance and evaluation of projects.
The various sub-committees under the Executive Committee have the task of overseeing the implementation of projects in the areas of jurisdiction, so their representation on the PIC should constantly liaise with them and report on the activities of the PIC.
Participation of the communities in plan implementation is of paramount importance since they and their assemblymen form part and parcel of every development proposal of their areas. Participation here will come in the form of direct labour, capital input and local expertise.
In effect the roles of assembly members, opinion leaders and traditional authorities are critical for the projects to be sustainable.
Co-ordinating The Implementation Of The Plan
Being cross-sectoral, the plan’s implementation requires a cross fertilization of ideas form various departments and agencies in the district. It requires integrated and mutually supportive efforts of key actors such as the District Assembly and all the major stakeholders. This will help articulate the efforts of the actors to minimize duplication and waste.
The following alternative methods of co-ordination are proposed for adoption by the district Assembly in the plan process.
• Formation of inter-agency co-ordination committees. This involves the formation of committees comprising members of all key agencies in the implementation of particular programmes or projects. Staff of these agencies will meet regular to brief others about experiences, collectively identify obstacles and evolve strategies to address them.
• Creation of Liaison Positions
This requires the appointment of an individual as the liaison officer who will perform the co-ordination functions. The person will ensure that activities of all participating agencies are properly linked and managed.
The Financial Plan
The total cost of the programmes and projects in the plan is about ¢52,475,000,000 cedis at current inflation rates and cost of materials needed for the projects. The sources of funding for these activities, projects and programmes will include Grants from the Central Government such as the District Assembly Common Fund, and the Ghana Education Trust Fund. Other institutions such as the Ghana Health Service and others will also contribute towards the implementation of the project. The District would also step up its revenue generation activities to increase internally generated funds. Other development partners will also contribute toward the plan implementation. Communities will also be made to contribute towards project implementation. Measure to mobilize extra Funds for the implementation of the Programmes and Projects
Following the design of programmes and projects, and the institutional and administrative proposals aimed at facilitating the implementation of the plan, there is the need to map out strategies for securing adequate fund, which is a necessary condition for successful plan implementation. Consequently, a number of strategies and proposal have been made for the Assembly’s consideration and adoption to supplement the funds received from the traditional sources. These include the following:
Revenue Mobilization by District Assembly
Analysis of the revenue generation and mobilization capacity of the Birim North District Assembly revealed the following:
• That the assembly lacks an up-to-date database on potential tax payers;
• That qualified revenue collectors were inadequate.
• The Assembly will therefore put in much effort to generate adequate funds for plan implementation
Private Sector Participation
In trying to create an enabling environment, it presupposed that the necessary conditions are being laid for private sector participation in development activities. This can be achieved by marketing the various programmes to private sector investors, and various partner organizations in development. The holding of investment forums at the district level with outside participation is a necessary condition for awareness creation of potentials and viability of the District.
Mobilization of Resources from Non-Residents of the District
The levying of non-resident citizens of the district could yield significant revenue for the implementation of the public sector projects. The Assembly should therefore compile data concerning this group. They should subsequently be contacted to contribute in cash or king toward the development of the district. It is recommended that the Assembly form a committee to initiate action in this area.
The Assembly would embark upon public education programmes to conscientize the residents to contribute their quota towards the development of their respective areas. Thus both female and male adults should be made to contribute in kind, labour or cash. It is also suggested for the attention of the District authorities to consider introducing levy on goods, produced in the district. The range of foods expected to be levied include major products like cocoa, kola, timber, palm oil etc. Town harvest and fund raising rallies will also be organized by the Assembly in order to generate the necessary funding for plan implementation.
Assistance from NGOs Embassies and Bilateral Agencies
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs, Bilateral Agencies and Foreign Mission operating in the country are known to be offering assistance of various forms to help develop district and rural areas in particular. The Assembly will therefore present this Development Plan to the above mentioned agencies and organizations as basis for soliciting financial assistance from would-be donors.
Date Created : 11/23/2017 10:03:53 AM