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18.05.2005 Regional News

Decentralization is key to poverty reduction - Boniface

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Tamale, May 18, GNA - Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, the Northern Regional Minister, on Wednesday advocated the need for a decentralized system of governance where decisions reflecting the aspirations of the people would be taken at the local level.

The Minister was speaking in Tamale on Wednesday at a one-day forum on: "Citizen's participation in Governance," organized by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to mark the fifth "National Constitution Week."

Alhaji Boniface said a decentralized system of governance was more likely to achieve poverty reduction through community participation in policy formulation than the classical system of governance.

He said Tamale and Yendi had for the past four years been without assembly members due to the Dagbon conflict hence popular participation in local governance could not be said to be effective.

The Minister appealed to the NCCE to device a well-thought out strategy to help educate the citizenry on the benefits of citizen participation in local governance for poverty reduction.

Mr Issah Abudulai Nasaegri, the Regional Director of the NCCE, said civic education was a shared responsibility and as such, the Commission would need the participation of all Ghanaians to achieve its objectives. He said the NCCE would liaise with other agencies to move democracy beyond the organization of free and fair elections to a more participatory democracy.

Mr Alhasan Imoro, the Northern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists' Association who chaired the forum, appealed to the Regional Minister to investigate circumstances that led to the closure of the NCCE office in the Tolon/Kumbungu District by the DCE.

The Minister assured the forum that he would spare no effort to have the office re-opened.

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