Social accountability has been identified as a key ingredient for achieving and maintaining good governance at the local governance levels, Pogrammes Manager of the Development Research Centre (DRAC), Mr Milton Aberinga, has said.
To help create a fertile ground for social accountability in the Bolgatanga Municipality, a group had been constituted in the Municipality to hold leadership of the Municipal Assembly accountable in the implementation of its programmes and policies.
Addressing the 120 groups drawn up from the various stakeholders in the Municipality and its environs at a Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) Forum held in Bolgatanga on Wednesday, Mr Aberinga said out of the 13 districts in the Upper East Region, only the Bolgatanga Municipal and Bawku Municipal had been selected to benefit from the SPEFA project.
He said the Project which is being sponsored by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development with support from the World Bank is being implemented by the SNV, a Netherland Development Organization and DRAC in the Bolgatanga Municipality.
He explained that among project aims is to empower citizens at the local levels to demand accountability from public servants to ensure that public resources were managed effectively and efficiently in response to the needs of society.
He said the principles of good governance impinge on three fundamental principles including transparency, participation, and responsiveness and indicated that most of these principles are often compromised.
He attributed such weaknesses to the lack of knowledge and information on the part of the citizens to engage duty bearers at the various Municipal and District Assemblies to ensure that public resources were managed efficiently and judiciously as required.
Mr Aberinga told the participants that per the 1992 Constitution, the Local Government Act 462 of 1993, the Local Instrument establishing the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the before, during 455 of 1993 among others, citizens had the right to hold the leadership of the various assemblies to account for their stewardships.
He noted that most of the abandoned government?s projects dotted around the Municipality including those poorly executed would had been reduced if citizens had engaged duty bearers very well particularly before, during and after implementation of programmes and projects.
The Chief of Yorogo, Naba Johnson Awuni who chaired the forum stressed that social accountability cut across all the development sectors and noted that adherence to it promoted effective delivery and positive results.
Among the roles of the SPEFA group would include monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of local government plans and programmes for development. Their task would also include budget tracking, expenditure tracking, and other social accountability monitoring systems.