Three Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies which excelled in the District Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project have been honoured.
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly emerged the overall winner, followed by Offinso Municipal Assembly and Birim North District Assembly.
Each received desk top computers and accessories, a printer, plaque and a certificate.
The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) with assistance from the German Development Corporation’s (GIZ) Support for Decentralisation Reform Programme instituted the Excellence Awards for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The project initiated in collaboration with Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was implemented between December 2010 and June 2011 to promote PPP as a tool for accelerated local level development.
The Kojokrom Market sheds project by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly which won the first prize involved the construction of stores, stalls, warehouses, cold stores, transport terminals and other ancillary services.
The Offinsoman Rural Bank Project by Offinso Municipal Assembly was a community based unit bank established for promoting small and micro enterprises within the municipality, resulted in multiple positive effects on other projects in the community including the School Feeding Programme.
The Capacity Enhancement for transparent, accountable, participatory and sustainable management of extractive resource revenue by the Birim North District Assembly which focused on infrastructural development assisted the building of more responsive, transparent and accountable management of natural resource revenues.
Mr Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, presenting the awards in Accra on Tuesday commended the winners for the tremendous achievements over the period and encouraged other MMDAs to strive hard at attaining excellence in their areas of jurisdiction to enhance local governance and development at the local levels.
He pointed out that engaging in PPP had been considered as a strategy for improving service delivery and infrastructural development and in the context of the changing roles and expectations of national governments, various countries had defined relationships that could exist between the public and private sectors in relation to financing, technical development, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Mr Terkper explained that the project challenged the assemblies to use PPP schemes to meet some of the challenges involving local government finances, making it a means by which central and local government mixed public and private funds in a financial plan to move the development agenda.
He stated that PPP plans enabled governments to start and complete projects with insufficient or no financing, which was a great advantage.
“It is our goal to use PPP financing as planned public policy to tackle projects with significant commercial value,” he said.
Mr Terkper indicated that government could also use the PPP model to bring in private sector management and expertise to run commercial projects on continuing basis.
He however cautioned that while admitting the enormous advantages of PPP, “We must be conscious of some PPP pitfalls”, observing that risk sharing must be balanced as with the benefits between the public and private partners.
Mr Terkper urged the assemblies to clearly identify user fees and revenues that were used to support PPP project that did not make positive returns.
He announced that government had given approval for a PPP Policy as part of several ongoing Public Financial Management Reforms and was currently before Parliament, to guide State institutions in their efforts to use PPP as a means of financing to set up projects, create jobs and facilitate development.
Mr Terkper stressed that implementation of such measures as deliberate government policies would help improve financial management including the prudent use of funds to implement PPP and other policies.
He stressed: “Ghana need these enhanced policies to be consistent with her new Lower Middle Income Country status as aid or grants received would decline and eventually become insignificant over time.”
He called for proper repayment plans of loans by MMDAs, without which local and central government financial systems could fail.
Mr Terkper commended sponsors of the programme and urged them to insist on fiscal and financial prudence as important aspect of the evaluation process.
Ms Abena Korang Acheampong Abaitey, Project Coordinator, explained that the common criteria for selecting winning assemblies included sustainability of the initiative, impact on the community, post-partnership prospects and the extent of pro-activity the assembly had demonstrated in the project.
Other criteria for assessment included partnership arrangement such as the role of partners, governance systems, processes, monitoring and evaluation, process for design, process for management and extent of skills transfer to the local community.
The project must also fall into the medium term development plan of the assembly.
She said the PPP arrangement involved a tripartite arrangement involving the district assembly, the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) Newmont Ghana Limited and focused on capacity, facilitating the relationship between the district assembly, the mining company, traditional authorities and communities through the support of an external actor ISODEC to foster sustainable and equitable management of the resources.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboaye, Director of ILGS, expressed gratitude to Vice President John Dramani Mahama for his support for the awards and the sponsors for their support and expressed the hope that funding would be secured soon for the next contest to begin. GNA