Stakeholders at a national dialogue on development have urged government agencies such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to collaborate more with district assemblies to ensure effective implementation of projects at the local level.
According to the discussants, development projects in rural areas sometimes got stalled because of the lack of collaboration between implementing agencies and the assemblies.
They said some projects in rural areas were yet to be completed due to the lack of monitoring which could easily have been carried out by assemblies in those communities.
Participants included representatives of district assemblies, the GETFund, the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund, Regional Coordinating Council, the Northern Development Authority (NDA) and CSOs.
Organised by SEND Ghana in partnership with Integrity Action, both CSOs, the dialogue was aimed at promoting citizen participation in the monitoring of development projects in their various communities.
Dubbed: “National level policy dialogue on findings of citizen-led monitoring of infrastructure delivery at the local level”, the day’s event discussed the findings of a two-year project - monitoring for financial savings (M4FS) meant to allow citizens to track development projects in their communities.
The project is being piloted in five districts in the Northern and Savannah regions – Tamale, Yendi, Savelugu, Tolon and West Gonja to build the capacity of citizens to enable them to monitor development projects in their communities.
They were trained to track delivery of infrastructural projects, highlight problems, engage in dialogue with key government officials, including contractors to seek answers to how projects would be delivered.
The Chief Executive Officer of SEND Ghana, Siapha Kamara, said it was important for citizens to take keen interest in monitoring development projects in their communities because they were the ultimate beneficiaries.
He said although government agencies had monitoring units, citizens could augment their efforts by building their capacity to ensure value for money and also make sure that projects were completed on time.
“The monitoring units can work with citizens because schools, hospitals and markets that are being built are for the citizens.
“The idea in the country that the government should do everything for citizens is not a good mentality,” Mr Kamara added.
The district development planning officer of Tolon in the Northern Region, Ibrahim A. Gombilla, said oftentimes assemblies were excluded from GETFund projects in their jurisdictions, a situation which, he said, made it difficult for the projects to be monitored.
He, therefore, called on the management of GETFund to deepen collaboration with the assemblies and allow them to award some of the fund’s contracts and also monitor their projects for effective delivery.
However, a representative from the fund, Akosua Abbey, said per the law, the fund did not award contracts but only made payments.
She explained that the projects were awarded by the procurement management unit of the Ministry of Education.
“GETFund does not award contracts; we only disburse funds and monitor projects because they are taxpayers’ money and we therefore need to ensure value for money,” Ms Abbey added.