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28.11.2005 Regional News

Encourage full participation in local governance - Deputy Minister

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Accra Nov. 28, GNA - Nana Ato Arthur, Deputy Central Regional Minister, on Monday suggested to District Assemblies to create a platform that would encourage full citizen participation and involvement in local governance.

"There should be a programme like Citizens Question Hour where citizens would attend assembly meetings and ask the District Chief Executives (DCEs) questions about government policies and the community as a whole," He said.

Nana Arthur was speaking at a forum organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a non-governmental organization that promotes liberal democracy, rule of law and human rights. It was on: "Local Government and civil Society".

Members of Parliaments, District Chief Executives, Municipal Chief Executives, legal practitioners and some students in tertiary institutions were at the forum.

Nana Arthur said there was the need for District Assemblies to strengthen community discussions by organising town meetings where he suggested the officials in the district assemblies moved from town to town to communicate with people in the communities.

"There should be an opportunity for citizens to question their leaders and politicians managing their community," he added. He noted that under normal circumstances, Assembly members were supposed to ask for citizens' concerns and to present them at meetings, however, he said, that was done by just a few.

The Deputy Minister said there was the need to build the capacity of the local administration to enable them to effectively serve their communities.

Nana Ato Arthur mentioned poverty in the local assemblies as a major hindrance to the work of DCEs and called for the creation of sustainable economic projects with focus on small and medium size enterprises, which he said, was the backbone of the economy.

"It is also important to support decentralised economic development at the local level", he added and advised Members of Parliament and District Chief Executives to explore options and possible solutions for poverty reduction in their communities.

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