The Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development has expressed worry over the continuous award of contracts from the central government for the implementation of capital projects at the local level.
According to the committee, the practice has, over the years, disempowered the technocrats at the local level, thereby resulting in poor execution of projects, which sometimes does not address the critical needs of the beneficiaries.
The committee made the observation when its four-member team visited and inspected projects funded by the District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) in five selected districts in the Upper East Region.
They are Garu, Tempane, Bongo, Bolgatanga East and Kassena-Nankana West districts.
The Vice Chairman of the committee who led the delegation, Mr Sulemana Adamu Sanid, noted that when the contracts were awarded by the central government they defeated the decentralisation process.
He, therefore, called for a paradigm shift to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the award of contracts at the local level were given the opportunity to make some technical inputs to ensure value for money.
He further expressed regret that details of projects awarded directly by the central government in Accra were not disclosed to the technocrats and other stakeholders at the district levels and that led to slow pace of work on some of the projects.
Mr Sanid, who is also a Member of Parliament for the Ahafo Ano North Constituency in the Ashanti Region, noted that the situation has often made it difficult for the various assemblies to monitor, inspect and make inputs to ensure quality of work and value for money.
“Even if it is not financial, the technical details of each project must be shared with the beneficiary districts so that it will aid in supervision and inputs that will come from the assemblies’ technical people,” he stressed.
This, he observed, would ensure that if there were issues with it, there would be a first layer of complaint mechanism so that the control measure would be put in place and “eventually draw the attention of the awarding agency about the challenges of the projects and have them addressed,” he added.
The Vice Chairman recommended that components of every contract awarded by the central government should be lodged at the district assembly, adding, “that would not only ensure quality work but would give true meaning to the decentralisation process.”
The MP further noted that government needed to work on increasing the allocation of the DACF for deprived districts to ensure that there was adequate resources to enable them to implement projects that would accelerate development and improve the lives of the people in those areas.
The first Deputy Whip of the Minority Caucus in Parliament and a member of the committee, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, noted that as part of its oversight responsibility, the committee was tasked to inspect the execution of projects funded under the DACF.
Mr Ibrahim who is also the MP for the Banda Constituency in the Bono Region, explained that very soon the 2021 formulae for the DACF distribution would be presented to Parliament and, therefore, it was imperative for the committee to have first-hand information about the ongoing projects so as to make a comprehensive report for consideration.
The Committee inspected the construction of District Assembly Office Complexes in the Bolgatanga East, Tempane and Kassena-Nankana West districts. The projects were at various stages of completion.
At the Bongo and Garu Districts, the committee members inspected ongoing construction of courts, complexes and residential accommodation.
The delegation was made up of the Vice Chairman of the Committee and MP for Ahafo Ano North, Mr Sulemana Sanid, MP for Banda and first Deputy Whip of Minority Caucus in Parliament Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Sene East, Mr Dominic Napare, and MP for Garu, Mr Albert Akuka Alalzuuga.
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