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20.10.2005 Regional News

Demand accountability from Assemblies

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Agona Swedru, Oct 20, GNA - The Out-going District Coordinating Director (DCD) for Agona, Mr Guy Bobson Lee Siilo, has called on Urban and Area Councils to demand accountability and transparency from the District Assemblies and the government since it is their democratic right to ensure effective decentralisation.

He said Area and Urban councils could play this watchdog role when they are abreast with the functions local government structures and the decentralisation policy.

Mr Siilo was speaking at a three-day workshop for some selected Area Council Secretaries, Community Based and Non-Governmental Organisations (CBOs and NGOs) sponsored by the German Development Service and the Human and Environmental Provision Organisation (HEPO). Topics treated included good governance, organisation of meetings, conflict management and projects planning.

Mr Siilo said the people at the grassroots had the power and right to monitor contractors undertaking projects in their areas to avert shoddy work and to get "value for money".

The Out-going DCD stated that it was unfair for District Assemblies to try to deny Urban and Area Councils funds for planning and decision-making on projects.

He called on local sub structures to be proactive and to embark on income generating ventures to enable them to undertake projects and pay their staff instead of relying on the District Assemblies. Mr Siilo urged the participants to take the training seriously to help transform their areas.

He noted that, "everything is determined in Accra for District Assemblies especially in disbursing the Common Fund while the Assemblies are doing to the Councils".

The DCD gave the assurance that the Agona District Assembly would do everything possible to assist the area councils to stand on their feet to ensure the promotion of the decentralisation policy. Mr Alexander Esua-Mensah, Director of HEPO, expressed the hope that the training would strengthen NGOs, CBOs and Area Councils in taking democratic decisions.

He said that there were lot of funds internally that could be tapped to finance locally initiated and planned projects to improve the standard of living of the people.

Mr Richard Ziork, Deputy District Planning Officer and Resource Person, who spoke on good governance and conflict resolution urged the council members to be accountable to people at all times.

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