By?Stephen Odoi-Larbi – Ghanaian Chronicle
The Local branch of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Tuesday presented 600 copies of two publications on ‘Financing Local Economic Development in Ghana’ to Parliament.
The two publications; one a 123 page document on financing local economic development deals with old problems and new strategies in bringing local government and local businesses together to find common solutions to local socio-economic challenges.
The other, a 12 page handbook on ‘Promoting Employment Through Enterprise Development’, highlights the various opportunities of employment at the local level that helps to improve standards of living.
The two publications, according to the International Project Expert of the ILO, Nii Moi Thompson, was developed against the backdrop of the rising public expectations in constituencies across the country over better economic and employment opportunities.
?We deem the presentation timely and the publications relevant in view of Parliament’s growing interest in local economic development against the backdrop of rising public expectations in constituencies across the country, over better economic and employment opportunities,? he noted.
Ghana’s economy is made up of 170 local economies (Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies) that are highly dependent on government for their sustainability.
These local economies are, therefore, affected by national policies emanating either from Parliament or the Executive, and have an effect on the ability of local businesses and local governments to make the kinds of investments they need.
But Mr. Thompson believes sustaining these local economies require as a matter of urgency and of necessity, a certain level of investment and reinvestment by both the private and public sectors.
For example, he said many districts complain that deductions from their shares of the District Assemblies Common Fund by the national government impede their ability to invest in infrastructure to facilitate local economic development.
This, according to him, has undermined the ability of local economies to grow and create enough jobs for the young men and women in their jurisdictions, adding ?out of desperation, these young men and women then head for the cities and towns in search of non-existent jobs.?
The presentation to Parliament, according to the International Project Expert of the ILO was to help shape members’ contributions to the on-going public debate over Ghana’s decentralization process, as well as the impending review of the 1992 Constitution.
The books were received on behalf of the leadership of Parliament by the Minister of Local Government and MP for Wa West, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, together with Mr. Gershon Kofi Bediako Gbediame, MP for Nkwanta South and Mr. Akoto Osei, MP for Tafo.
The three, in their remarks, shared in the belief that Parliamentarians have a lot of responsibility in shaping policy and, therefore, thanked ILO for the presentation, which according to them will serve as a resource material that will help them ?influence policy? on developmental issues.