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Politics of Saturday, 20 June 2009

Source: GNA

Coordinating Councils tasked to promote transparency and accountability

Wa, June 20, GNA - Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development on Saturday tasked regional coordinating councils to adopt effective measures that would enhance development and transparency within decentralised Assemblies. He said they must ensure effective coordination, free information flow, strengthening of sub-district structures and grassroots participation within the local levels.

Addressing a two-day workshop for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at Wa on Saturday, Mr Chireh said transparency and accountability would continue to elude the country if pragmatic measures were not adopted to stop some of the negative practices that were gaining grounds in society. The workshop, themed "Transparency and Accountability: Pillars for Effective Decentralization," was organized by the Parliamentary Press Corps with sponsorship from the District Assemblies Common Fund. It was also attended by all Municipal and District Chief Executives and their Administrators in the Upper West Region and some Members of Parliament from the region.

Mr. Chireh said Town Hall Meetings which would soon be used to seek the views and preference of communities, were expected to promote transparency and good governance because majority of the people would be involved in decision making and implementation. "Apart from all these, we plan holding multi-party meetings that will allow us build consensus on issues on transparency and good governance," he added. Mr. Mahmud Khalid, Upper West Regional Minister said it was important to give the media such orientations to enhance their knowledge and performance in the execution of their duties. He commended the Parliamentary Press Corps for choosing the Upper West Region as venue for their workshop. "It will not only give some of you the opportunity to know here, but will also expose you to some of the problems people in the region face".

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah, Minority Leader in Parliament, called on regional and district tender boards to consider awarding contracts to only competent contractors whose performance would give the country good projects for many years. He also appealed to various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to step up income-generating activities in order to attract increased District Assemblies Common Fund.

Mr. Edwin Arthur, Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, attributed the poor performance of some Assemblies in project execution to lack of feasibility studies and suggested to the government to surcharge Chief Executives of such Assemblies. He said over the years some Assemblies had abused the District Assemblies common fund by using it for funeral donations and payment of school fees, a situation he described as unacceptable.