The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)-Ghana and UNICEF yesterday released the 2018/19 District League Table (DLT) for metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
The DLT, which rates MMDAs on key indicators such as education, health care, sanitation, access to rural and urban water, security and governance, produced interesting results.
For instance, there were mixed feelings for the Ashanti Region after it produced both the overall best and the worst-ranked districts on the table.
Asante Akim North topped the table with a 100 per cent score, while Asokore Mampong came last with no point.
Two of the five metropolitan assemblies — the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA)
— had rather poor showing, as they placed 100th and 68th, respectively.
Their Tamale, Cape Coast and Tema counterparts, however, had fairly good performances by ranking fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Interestingly, the Greater Accra Region emerged as the best-ranked region after making an impressive show in the various indicators, while the Eastern Region came last.
The Daily Graphic congratulates UNICEF and CDD-Ghana on leading the way to rate the performance of the MMDAs.
We understand that the overall objective of the DLT is to serve as a tool for social accountability by encouraging evidence-based dialogue between the state and the citizens to address gaps in development.
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It is again meant to strengthen advocacy for national-level institutions to equitably and effectively allocate resources across the country.
For us at the Daily Graphic, we see the DLT as a tool that will not only encourage competition among the MMDAs but also bring to light the reality of developmental challenges that local assemblies face.
The paper is of the view that the time has come to look at the DLT beyond the figures and explore ways by which the various actors can collaborate to address the developmental gaps between the rural areas and the urban centres.
It would be an understatement to say that the DLT ranking is a good source of data that can help in national development planning and the formulation of pro-poor policies.
But policy makers and development partners must not be oblivious of the fact that the MMDAs have different development challenges. We reason that using the same criteria to measure them is quite problematic.
It will thus be more reasonable if the criteria and matrices are developed taking into consideration the peculiar development challenges of each MMDA.
Whatever the case may be, the ranking is a wake-up call for MMDAs which performed poorly to put their shoulders to the wheel to turn the situation around. For those that ranked highly, we think it is a signal that they can still do better.
This is especially so when the latest World Bank Human Capital Index ranked Ghana on 44 per cent, a figure that made the country fall shy of the 48 per cent average performance of other lower middle-income countries.
As a country, it is imperative that we invest in the critical sectors used for the DLT ranking, so that we can benchmark national outcomes with international standards.
We urge stakeholder ministries, such as Finance, Local Government and Rural Development and Planning, to carefully study the DLT and incorporate it into development planning at the grass roots to improve standards of living.