Town and Zonal Councils (ATZCs) to function, Mr Stephen Awunyo-Akaba, a Development Consultant has observed.
He argued that those lower structures of the Local Government system were purposely crafted to elicit citizens’ responsiveness and direct participation in local governance, as defined by Act 462 of 1993, and Legislative Instrument (L.I 1589).
Mr Awunto-Akaba made the point at a day’s stakeholder dissemination workshop by the Social Accountability Unit (SAU) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), to discuss the 2015 mid-year survey report of Citizens’ perception of Local Government Public Financial Management and Urban Services in 23 Municipal Assemblies.
Ho, Hohoe and Keta Municipal Assemblies in the Volta region were among those Municipal Assemblies.
The SAU has been engaging with a number of Civil Society groups, including the media, to stimulate demand for Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability, and citizens’ involvement in the activities of the 23 Municipal Assemblies.
Mr Awunyo-Akaba argued that citizens were not expected to be directly involved with the work of the MMDAs, and that was why they had elected representatives who were expected to report back to them.
He explained that much of the work of the Assemblies were technical and professional in nature, and performed in Sub-Committees, and the Executive Committees.
Mr Awunyo-Akaba said these Committees fine-tuned proposals from the Unit Committees and ATZCs into technical forms, and submitted to the full membership of the Assemblies which then discussed, amended and approved development plans and budgets for the Local government area.
Ms Fathy Sole, Head of the SAU, said the Ministry was instituting measures to make the sub-structures of the Assemblies functional as expected.
“The pace is slow”, she said.
She said the mid-year 2015 survey and the baseline survey of 2013 were meant to assess the Local Government capacity support project 2012-2017.
Ms Sole said the MMAs would be conducting individual surveys to assess citizens’ appreciation of their performances.
The mid-year survey focused on citizens’ perception of MMAs responsiveness, understanding of Public Financial Management processes, professionalism, availability, quality, efficiency and equity of core services.
The core services were public health, education, toilets, solid waste management and roads.
The over-all outlook was mixed with modest improvements in perceptions since the 2013 baseline survey.