The Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD) and Acting Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, has given full assurance of his Assembly’s commitment towards the implementation of the Support for Decentralization Reforms (SfDR) Programme. He was speaking at a Day’s Workshop at Abokobi organized for Heads of Departments and Units to facilitate the preparation of the Municipal Composite Work-Plan for the implementation of the SfDR in the municipality.
The Support for Decentralization Reforms (SfDR) Programme is rolled out by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) with Technical Support from GIZ, German Development Cooperation.
The SfDR programme involves 60 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country, from the previous 40, out of which six are in the Greater Accra Region.
It seeks to provide technical support for improved development of the participating Assemblies in the areas of Internally Generated Funds (IGF), Planning and Budgeting, and Improving Development Cooperation.
An essential and interesting feature of this programme, which runs from 2016 to 2019, is the development of a software application called the “Ntobua” which will aid the Assemblies in revenue management. The software captures data of all properties and allows for easy printing of bills and tracking of payments or otherwise of Property Rates.
GIZ, formerly GTZ, which has been operating in Ghana in 1983, is leading the implementation of the programme by providing the needed technical support through capacity-building activities for staff of the Assemblies, facilitation of public/stakeholder sensitization and participation to create awareness and ownership of the programme as well as enhancing development cooperation.
At a workshop held at Abokobi for the Heads of Departments and Units of the GEMA, the participants were assisted to develop a work-plan towards the implementation of the programme.
A resource person from GIZ, Lennard Kehl, explained that the Ntuboa software is fused with the Land Use Planning and Management Information System (LUPMIS) which will allow the app to generate and print bills with ease, a situation which has been a major challenge associated with low internal revenue generation for the Assembly.
Mr. Kehl stated that data on developed and undeveloped properties was essential to the success of the application of the software and hoped for a quick resolution of that challenge to pave way for its usage.
He stressed the need for the Assemblies to improve upon their revenue generation and thus reduce the over-reliance on central government and donor support for funding of their projects and activities.
“The Districts which at the moment are heavily relying on national funds and donor funds and others should get more independent from those funds to adequately run their services and infrastructure projects for the citizens and therefore the generation of local funds or local revenues is highly important so that the Districts are enabled to run their tasks on a more independent way and therefore we see the Street Naming and Property Addressing exercise as the key element to generate more local revenues.”
He commended the Assembly for its wide and innovative use of social media and other traditional communication channels in disseminating information to its clients internally and externally.
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri, the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD) and Acting Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who actively participated in the workshop, echoed the relevance of the workshop and indicated that it had been insightful.
“Clearly we didn’t know the details of it (SfDR programme) but at the end of it, we realize that actually the project is here to enhance what we have been doing. There are certain things that we should have long been able to report on but unfortunately we have been dilly dallying with them. They have come to straighten them and we believe that with their support, we should be able to meet our target at the end of the day.”
The MCD assured the team of the preparedness of the Assembly to go all out and ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the programme to enhance the development of the municipality.
“Clearly, since we have all met here, we are committed to it. We have all the Department and Units that will run this particular project here and I am assuring you of our full support. The Chief Executive, who will be coming will also be adequately briefed on the project so that he will also buy into it.”
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri indicated that data capturing of properties in the municipality was expected to be completed by end of March to enable the Assembly to fuse it with the programme.
He emphasized the critical role and impact of the Street Naming and Property Addressing exercise on the programme and expressed optimism of the commitment of the new administration towards the continuation of the programme started by his predecessor.
“Fortunately, the government of President Nana Addo has also shown some indication to the Street Naming and House Numbering exercise so I think we are on course. There is some continuity in what the previous government started so I believe there won’t be any challenge at all in pursuing this particular project.”
Alhaji Shehu Awudu Kadiri appealed to the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) through its representative on the team to assist and allow the Assembly to revise the plan and budget submitted to them when the need arises in the implementation of the programme.
He thanked the team and promised not to disappoint them in the implementation of the programme stating “we should be one of the key Assemblies that should be talked about. We have a mission to fulfill and we will do that”.
Mrs Jemima Lomotey from the RCC, who led the team, said in an interview that the RCC was facilitating the implementation the SfDR in the Greater Accra Region.
She said her outfit, in collaboration with GIZ and Office of the Head of Local Government Service, had initiated a six-day working visit programme to the participating Assemblies to “actually talk to them about the programme, those who are already on it, some sort of refresher information for them and then those who are not on it actually brief them comprehensively on the various components of the programme and how they will benefit from the entire technical assistance package”.
She noted, with satisfaction, the cooperation and support from the staff of GEMA and assured them of their readiness to assist with the resources and necessary support required to implement the programme.
Mr. Nariel Quayson represented the Office of the Head of Local Government Service on the team.
By: Okunyin Boaz Orlan-Hackman
Pictures: Nanapanin Akosua Kyeiwaa Arhin