General News of Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Civil society groups (CSOs) have been urged to liaise with their assembly members to get deeper insight into activities of the municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies.
Nana Ofei Aboagye Agyemang II, Lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), gave the advice when he presented a paper at the Third Quarter Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) meeting at the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA).
He said such engagements would afford the CSOs better understanding and appreciation of the work of municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies and the proper allocation of resources to their needs.
Nana Agyeman was speaking on: “Public Financial Management Processes of Local Authorities; Development Planning; Budgeting and Revenue Management of Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies (MMAs).
Nana Agyemang, who is also the Chief of Senchi in the Eastern Region, said civil society engagement, particularly in the budgeting processes of MMAs, was important to increasing efficiency in budget allocation, improving accountability and management, and increasing trust between citizens and government.
He said it would also reduce social exclusion and poverty and strengthen democratic practices
He said the key interest of CSOs such as the SPEFA must, therefore, be focused on fee fixing meetings and resolution by the General Assembly.
Speaking on Participatory Planning, Nana Agyemang said civic engagement was particularly useful in the development planning stage to ensure that limited resources of the Government were used to resolve problems that were relevant to the citizens.
On Budgeting and Revenue Management, Nana Agyemang called for participatory budgeting which was a democratic deliberation on how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget.
Madam Nora Ollennu, the Chief Executive Officer of Intervention Forum, who is also the Focal Person for the Adentan District Citizens Monitoring Committee, organisers of the forum, said it was a commendable process directed at rendering local government institutions accountable and responsive to the people.
She said while the assembly carried out its function of budgeting and revenue management, citizens must also play a decisive role in ensuring that the limited resources were judiciously used to address pressing and relevant needs.
Madam Ollennu Told the group that power resided in their hands and called on the members, chiefs and other opinion leaders of LEKMA to put into practice the training they had received.
During a group working session, the participants deplored the poor state of social amenities and development in their communities and the lack of consultation between them and their assembly members.