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03.02.2006 General News

Decentralisation gets 32 billion cedis EU grant

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 03, GNA - The European Union (EU) on Friday signed a 32 billion cedis financing agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to support Ghana's decentralisation programme. The agreement is to help accelerate the implementation of the second phase of the Decentralisation programme being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development under the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) II.

Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Ambassador and Head of the delegation of the European Commission in Ghana signed for the EU while Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, the Minister of Finance initialled for Ghana. Mr Baah-Wiredu, said the EU's intervention in the decentralisation process was to complement government's effort at reducing poverty by empowering districts and local communities to identify, plan, finance, implement and monitor development programmes at the local level.

"Decentralisation is pivotal to the provision of democratic governance, transparency and the greater involvement of communities in poverty reduction. Thus a programme that aims at strengthening the capacity of District Assembles is essential and must be commended," he said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu urged the implementing agencies to ensure the success of the decentralisation programme.

Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi said EU support for the programme was in recognition with the central role of good governance and civic responsibility to the GPRS II.

He said it was necessary to streamline roles played by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in the decentralisation process to ensure success urging the implementing agencies to "define clear responsibilities and assign leadership roles, eliminate duplication of tasks and harmonise activities to obtain synergies."

He said the EU was ready to support the National Decentralisation Action Plan (NDAP) in the areas of 'Capacity building and Human Resource Development for Decentralisation', as well as 'Partnership and participation for Accountable Local Governance.'

He said about 4.5 billion cedis would be earmarked for civil society initiatives to mobilise and represent poor and vulnerable groups in district development planning, adding that expedited implementation of Decentralisation in Ghana could activate additional funds under the new country strategy for 2007 to 2013.

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