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21.10.2007 Politics

More Districts Formed

By Daily Guide

President John Agyekum Kufuor has consented to the creation of 24 new district and three municipal assemblies to help deepen the country's decentralization, and governance at the grassroots level.

Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, who announced this in Sunyani on Thursday, said in addition, 25 districts would be elevated to municipal status, while Tema and Cape-Coast municipalities are raised to metropolitan positions.

He was addressing the opening of the 15th biennial national delegates' conference of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), on the theme: "Ghana @ 50: Ensuring effective decentralization for accelerated development".

Mr. Adjei-Darko said the names of the intended new district and municipal assemblies, which would start operation by the end of the year, would be made public next week.

The Minister mentioned Sunyani West, Dormaa East and Nkoranza North as some beneficiary constituencies in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

He said the Ministry was preparing to put the Legislative Instrument before Parliament for the creation of the districts and explained that the decentralization process would help promote good local governance.

"It will enhance community participation in governance and ensure accountability to the people to accelerate the pace of development," the Minister added.

Mr. Adjei-Darko noted that the undefined role of traditional authorities in local governance, ineffective or non-operational sub district structures, high turnovers of district assembly members and low levels of internally generated funds were challenges that must be addressed to make decentralization more meaningful to the people.

He said the Ministry had formed a committee to work on the Legislative Instrument to integrate departments at the district and regional levels into the district assembly system for the transfer of competent and experienced staff to all district assemblies.

Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, advised metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to tolerate and respect the opinions of other stakeholders in the assemblies.

He advised them to use consultation and approved channels of communication to resolve petty misunderstandings, and be guided by the legislation in taking decisions.

Mr. George Kyei-Baffour, President of NALAG, stressed that good governance and democracy in the modern democratic dispensation were attained more importantly through decentralization and responsive local governance.

He said rural development was a cardinal aspect of the local government system, and appealed to the government to develop a comprehensive framework for fiscal decentralization to ensure that adequate resources trickle down to the assemblies for developmental works. GNA.