Development Authorities will deepen decentralisation exercise

Mavis Hawa Koomson

The Akufo-Addo-led administration is making good on a campaign promise to furnish all 275 constituencies in the country with US$1million annually for development purposes.

Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Hawa Koomson, has however indicated that the proposed funds will solely be managed by the newly-created Development Authorities and become fully operational by August.

Initially, the promise appeared a bit over-stretched to some pundits as they could not fathom the mode of disbursement. Now that government has come out clearly to indicate the method of disbursement -through these Development Authorities, which will decide the projects to be undertaken in their various constituencies.

We must say that this is a much more plausible arrangement than what many perceived as a blanket release of US$1million per constituency. It is a far better method to hold people accountable and should ensure more transparency in the process of undertaking projects.

Since the president has made it his mission to protect the public purse, it is imperative that all activities can be tracked, monitored and evaluated. Madam Koomson made the disclosure when she appeared before the august House of Parliament to answer questions on when funds will be made available for the take-off of this much-awaited campaign promise.

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This is important because the Special Development Minister indicated that, so far, toilets and some 50 warehouses have been put up in 50 districts from the US$1million per constituency programme. Additionally, we now understand that it is the cedi equivalent of US$1million that is to be allocated annually; that is, GH¢4.39million.

Three development authorities have so far received Presidential Assent, and these are: Northern Development Authority, Middle Belt Development Authority; and the Coastal Development Authority. And they also had their boards inaugurated this week.

It fits perfectly with the country’s decentralisation drive to devolve power to the base and give people more say in what the developmental priorities of their constituencies are. Decentralisation has largely been a bit slow because of the low levels of literacy in some regions of the country.

However, we believe this model will serve as the perfect instrument to devolve power to the base and give Ghanaians a lot more say in their affairs. For far too long power has emanated from the centre, and it is high time we gave true meaning to decentralisation as a political method.

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