A two-day conference for professionals in the Local Government Service has taken place in the Volta Regional Capital, Ho. It brought together about 400 staff from the 28 professional group in the Service to review, share ideas and best practices and challenges for improved service delivery. The conference also discussed emerging issues from policy implementation and fashioned a roadmap going forward. The conference was under the theme ‘’Transforming Ghana through Effective Leadership, Coordination and Implementation of Government’s Policy at the Decentralised level in the 30 years of Ghana’s Decentralisation’’.
Addressing the conference, the Head of the Local Government Service, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur urged staff to discharge their duties with the highest level professionalism. He said, the conference will provide a platform to share best practices and experiences on innovative strategies in four (4) thematic areas namely local economic development, sanitation and waste management, internally generated funds and workplace environment aimed to improve service delivery.
The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibad Letsa underscored the critical role of local government professionals in responding to citizens needs in the provision of public services based on emerging challenges. He urged District Chief Executives to provide effective leadership and resource their staff to prosecute government’s programmes and policies; and called on participants to cultivate values and qualities critical for the effective and efficient discharge of their duties.
The Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hon Collins Ntim, commended the LGS for the continuous strive towards successful administrative decentralization implementation. He assured of MLGRD continual support in providing leadership for improved district level service delivery; and urged the Assemblies to be innovative in their efforts to improve revenue mobilization.
Delivering the key note address, the Guest of Honour and Senior Minister, Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo emphasized the place of quality local leadership in the national transformation agenda. He challenged staff to be game changers as effective implementation of government policies thrives best on ethical, professional and transformational leaders, who work with the resolve to coordinate and harmonise efforts to maximize returns on available resources. He entreated MMDAs to be innovative in revenue mobilisation especially from property rate. He said, the shortfall in Assembly’s revenues had made them overly reliant on central government transfers and that had affected implementation of their projects and programmes.
Speaking on the conference theme, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the Ashesi University, Professor Stephen Adei, said the development potential of decentralisation had not been fully exploited although some progress had been made in the 30 years of its implementation in Ghana. He cited poor leadership and lack of a systematic approach to capacity building of local bureaucrats as factors that impeded the decentralisation process. He stressed the untimely release of resources by central authority to places most needed as crippling decentralisation.
Presentations and discussions at the conference included localizing SDGs, Public Sector Reform Strategy, Role of Public Financial Management in fighting Corruption, Public Service Integrity Programme as well as Sensitisation on Gaming Operations in MMDAs and Developing Capacity Building Plans. The Regional Co-ordinating Councils represented by selected MMDAs from their respective regions mounted photo exhibitions and displayed innovations in Local Economic Development (LED), Sanitation, Internally Generated Funds & Workplace Environment. Presentations were made on the themes for the exhibitions which were assessed by a team based on an agreed criteria. Mion District, Ga South Municipal and Nkoranza South Municipal Assemblies were awarded for placing first in the various exhibition categories.
The conference opening ceremony was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University Allied Health Sciences, Prof John Owusu Gyapong. Other dignitaries present at the conference included the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Domelevo as well as some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives.
Professional Classes represented at the 4th Professionals Conference included; Administration, Planning, Budget/Revenue, Finance, Engineering, Environmental Health and Internet Audit. The rest are Human Resource, Procurement, IT, Legal, Agriculture, Statistics, Social Welfare, Community Development and Waste Management.