Accra, March 26, GNA - The European Union (EU) and the Conference of Regional Ministers Wednesday signed a grant agreement of 2.25 million Euros to support programmes and activities of the ten Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs).
The grant, which forms part of the EUs commitment to promoting decentralization in Ghana, comes with the ultimate objective of enhancing harmonization, monitoring public policies at the local level, and increasing access and quality of public services for citizens to improve their living conditions at the local level.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Claude Maerten, Head of the EU delegation in Ghana, said the grant also aimed at strengthening the institutional capacities and internal structures of the various regions for carrying out their general functions effectively and efficiently.
He said the RCCs were supposed to play a fundamental role in bringing together key actors in Ghanas decentralization context.
We all know that decentralization is a complex process needing a high level of steering, coordination and controlling to make it effective and maintain the confidence and energy of the stakeholders in making things happen, he said.
Mr Maerten, therefore, observed that the regional level in its role of coordination, monitoring and evaluating performance of the districts would be instrumental in the gathering of information on the impact of the EU sector budget; to support the performance and quality of service delivery at the local level.
We are, therefore, convinced that a sector wide approach, which seeks a maximum alignment of our contributions to the decentralization policy framework and national budget, combined with a well-designed institutional capacity support, targeted on key players of the decentralization reform are still the best means of ensuring that we work towards common objectives in improving the living conditions of Ghanaians, he added.
He, however, called on traditional councils to play an effective role in the decentralization process of their respective regions, to improve the living conditions of their people.
Chief Executives of the districts, representatives of traditional authorities from the regional house of chiefs and the regional heads of various regions make up government at the local level to promote accountability, participation as well as demand for improved service delivery for the betterment of citizens, he said.
Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who launched the grants, said the objectives of the EUs support were to strengthen the institutional capacities and internal structures of the regions for carrying out efficiently and effectively their general planned functions.
Mr Oppong-Fosu noted that despite the significant improvements in the performance of the economy over recent years, there were still a number of macro-economic and structural challenges that did not improve living conditions of people.
He said the functions of the Regional Coordinating Councils as contained in Act 462 and Act 480, as well as Legislative Instrument (LI) 1961 includes Coordination, Harmonization and provision of technical support to District Planning Coordinating Units in the execution of their functions.
Other functions are monitoring and evaluation of all District Development Interventions within the Framework of National, Spatial and Sectorial policies, provision of guidance to the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the preparation of their monitoring and evaluation plans and ensuring that district medium terms development plan and initiatives are policy compliant with national development policy framework.
He urged all RCCs to submit quarterly reports on all interventions in their respective regions to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mr E.K.T. Hammond, Chairman of Regional Ministers Conference assured the EU of their determination to use the grant judiciously.
With this grant, we shall be in the right position to perform effectively, especially in the area of coordination and monitoring, he added.