Mr Julius Debrah, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, says the ministry?s vision is to achieve a sustainable and equitable economic growth through citizens participation in the decision making process.
This he said would ensure accelerated service delivery at the local level within a decentralised environment.
Mr Debrah was speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in Accra, who went through Master of Science (MSc), Environmental Science, Policy and Management, MSc, Local Economic Development, MSc, Local Government Financial Management and Master of Arts, Local Government Administration and Organisation awarded by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
He said the ministry vision ties in perfectly with that of the Institute, which is to be a centre of excellence for building, strengthening and consolidating local governance, for the delivery of sustainable decentralised development and to strengthen the capacity of regional coordinating councils, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and other interested parties.
Mr Debrah noted that the ministry successfully relies on the ILGS to structure its courses appropriately to help in building the capacities of the staff of the MMDAs and their core staff to enable them deliver.
He said the ILGS stands tall in dealing with the challenges of bridging the capacity gaps between the MMDAs and the allied agencies involved in the decentralisation process over the years.
The Minister acknowledged the role played by the founding fathers of the ILGS, namely; Former President Jerry John Rawlings, Professor, Kwamena Ahwoi, Former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Mr SY Zanu, Former Chief Director of the Ministry.
Prof William Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor of KNUST said research and development have a pivotal role to play in the development of the nation.
He said high level expertise in the provision of appropriate and sustainable research initiative and leadership in industry, local governance, commerce and other sectors of the national economy have become a critical factor in the country?s democratic development.
Dr Esther Oduraa Ofei-Aboagye, ILGS Director said the objectives of the institute as indicated Act 647 are to organised the training of members of staff and personnel in local government and related entities, and any other interested person or body, local or foreign, in order to enhance the managerial, administrative, financial and operational efficiency of organs and units of local government.
She said tertiary institutions of repute are strengthening their research capacities and investing considerable resources in analysis and providing evidence-based knowledge to support national policy making, implementation and monitoring.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye noted that this is the environment in which the institute finds itself and aspires to excel in and its mandate demands that the content of its programmes remains relevant to the raison d?etre of decentralisation in Ghana that is, promoting effective participation of all stakeholders in national and local governance.
Nana Dr Okatakyie Amenfi VIII, Paramount Chief of Asebu Amenfi said local government system in Ghana has a long history that could be traced to the colonial period in 1878.
He said Ghana from 1957 onwards, moved towards what became known as ?centralization of power?.
Nana Amenfi who was the Chairman of the Ceremony said in the 1970s, several attempts were made to strength decentralisation which was thought of as the best option for local level administration.
He said in 1974, the Acheampong regime attempted a decentralised system of governance with the view of reinforcing central government control at the local level.
He said the PNDC Government in 1983 initiated a policy of administrative decentralisation of ministries and introduced the People?s Defense Committees concept at the local level.