Expert worried about creation of Zongo Dev Ministry
A local governance expert has expressed concern about a possible duplication of functions by the proposed Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
He contended that even though President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo might have had good intentions for creating such a ministry, Parliament should be cautious in approving funds for the ministry bearing in mind that funds approved for the assemblies would also include the zongo communities.
“Every district has a zongo community. What we are saying is that care should be taken in the allocation of resources, since what will be allocated to the district assemblies will take into consideration the zongo communities in the district,” the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), Dr Eric Oduro Osae, observed in an interview in Accra.
He was speaking after a press conference where a local governance think tank, Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA), outlined concerns in the local governance system in the country.
Zongo communities are important
Dr Osae, who is also a board member of CLGA, dispelled the assertion that his position would mean that he was against zongo communities, explaining, “If we want to develop the zongo communities, we are not against it, but what we are saying is that it should be targeted and not duplicated.”
Dr Osae said there should be one institution to take care of the initiative and not two institutions as currently was the case, where the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development and also the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development were responsible for it.
“We are not against the development of zongo communities. We want the zongo communities to develop. We want the zongo communities to have their share of the national cake,” he asserted.
“But we don’t want national level institutions to take advantage of the situation to overly enrich themselves,” Dr Osae told the Daily Graphic.
He insisted that if there was the need to develop the zongo communities, that was perfect, but he was only cautioning that if care was not taken, it could result in duplication of functions.
Dr Osae noted that if there was the need to build a school project at Madina Zongo, the budgetary allocation should come from the presidency and not from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
He said where the two institutions budgeted for the same project, funds from one of the institution would be used to finance the project and the other one may not be accounted for.
Dr Osae recalled that during the President Mahama administration, there was a directive for all government appointees were directed to contribute 10 per cent of their salaries to be used to build Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) compounds, while the Ministry of Health also budgeted for building same.