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15.11.2005 General News

Sierra Leone to learn from Ghana's Local Government

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Accra, Nov. 15, GNA - Mr Charles Binipon Bintim, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, on Tuesday said the Government was putting in place modalities that would allow physically challenged persons within all the districts to take up 10 per cent of the appointed members of the assemblies within their areas.

This he noted would ensure that all sectors of the communities were properly represented in the decentralisation process.

Mr Bintim was interacting with a 13-member Sierra Leonean delegation, led by the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Mr Siddique Brima, who is in the country to learn from Ghana's decentralisation process and public sector reform initiatives. He said in the current decentralisation process, 70 per cent of assembly members were elected, while the Government in consultation with local authorities appointed 30 per cent. Out of the 30 per cent, 50 per cent were to be women.

It is out of this 30 per cent that 10 per cent would be allocated to the physically challenged persons.

Mr Bintim said Ghana's Local Government process which started in 1988 had been backed by a number of legal frameworks including the 1992 Constitution, the Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462; PNDC Law 327; District Assemblies' Common Fund of 1993, Act 656 among other legislations.

The process though smooth so far, have, however, been hindered by a number of problems including the inability of a number of assemblies to generate the needed internally generated funds to complement the Central Government's contribution of five per cent of revenue generated, he said.

Mr Bintim said plans were far advanced to increase Central Governments contribution to seven and a half per cent and also motivate the assemblies to generate needed funds within their areas of jurisdiction.

He also mentioned the debate that was still ongoing about whether District Chief Executives should be elected or appointed saying, the Government was determined to allow the electorate to elect their leaders if evidence showed that that was what the people desired. Mr Brima said though the Sierra Leonean decentralisation process started quite late, the Government based its studies on Ghana's programme and had tried to eliminate some of the problems that were hindering Ghana's progress.

Expressing optimism on the outcome of the trip to Ghana, he praised Ghana for the help so far rendered to Sierra Leone in terms of expertise in a number of fields toward the development of Sierra Leone. He said the 10-day trip was bound to be of mutual benefit for the two countries.