Ejisu/Elmina/Tamale – February 3-7, 2020: The Office of the Head of the Local Government Service (OHLGS) has completed three zonal sensitization workshops to clarify the roles of the Physical Planning and Works Departments of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Participation of the workshops by staff was 190, 174 and 164 in Zones 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The participants were either heads or other staff of the Physical Planning and Works Departments from all MMDAs in the country. The zone one cluster was made up of Assemblies in the Ashanti, Eastern, Oti and Western North Regions and their workshop held at Ejisu, Ashanti Region. The Zone two workshop was held at Elmina, Central Region with Assemblies in the Central, Greater Accra, Volta and Western Regions in attendance. Zone three was made up of eight Regions namely Northern, North East, Savanah, Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, Upper East and Upper West Regions. The zone three workshop was held at Tamale, Northern Region. The technical sessions of the program were facilitated by the Deputy Director and Principal Planning Officer of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) and the Engineer-In-Chief of the Public Works Department (PWD) all from Accra. The Chief Director and other senior staff of the OHLGS were also in attendance.
In the Ashanti Region, the workshop participants were welcomed by the Regional Co-ordinating Director Mrs. Emelia Botchwey on behalf of the Regional Minister. The Hon. Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr. Thomas Adjei Baffoe welcomed participants to the Region on behalf of the Regional Minister. In zone 3, the Regional Coordinating Director, Alhaji Issahaku Alhassan stood in the stead of the Northern Regional Minister to welcome the participants to the Region. The speakers applauded the LGS for the creation of the platform to reflect on issues that emerge with the operationalization of the departments of the Assemblies with the goal to ensure harmonious working relationship among staff. According to the speakers, the operations of MMDA departments are provided for in law and therefore the issue of confusion on roles and functions should not arise. Staff of the two departments were urged to actively participate and dispassionately engaged for better understanding of the provision of the laws in line with their required duties.
The Head of Service in his address at the various zonal centers said until the enactment of the Local Governance Act, 2016, the LGS was made up of agencies which worked up to their mother departments in Accra with little or no recourse to the District Assemblies. He said it is therefore critical to clarify roles for harmonious industrial relations. Other highlights of the Head’s address were the calls on regional officers to adhere to laid down administrative procedures for the proper functioning of MMDAs; and on heads of departments and units of MMDAs to engage their Coordinating Directors with regards to their required roles in the implementation of the performance contracts (PCs) signed on behalf of their respective Assemblies. He also mentioned that the Service has sought for technical assistance from JICA to address the challenge of records management in the Service and urged the MMDAs to be up and doing. He emphasized the need for staff to apply themselves to the highest levels of professional standards in the discharge of their duties; shy away from active partisan activities and ensure that knowledge gained from the training is transferred to other colleagues and subordinate staff.
Until the passage of the Departments of District Assemblies Commencement Instrument (LI 1961), the functions of decentralized departments hitherto nonexistent at the Assembly level were performed by those in existence with related functions. With the gradual transfer of staff of agencies decentralized at the district levels and their takeover by the Local Government Service (LGS) for the operationalization of these departments at the local levels, it has become necessary to clarify the roles of these departments as provided for in law for the avoidance of doubt and ensure harmonious working relationship among staff of the MMDAs.
The Physical Planning Department is a decentralized department recently operationalized through the merger of the Department of Parks and Gardens and the erstwhile Town & Country Planning Department now Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority. The Works Department on the other hand was created out of the amalgamation of units such as PWD, District Works, Water and Feeder Roads.