Local Govt minister encourages district-private partnerships - To tackle unemployment
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been encouraged to partner with businesses, investors and community organisations at the local level to promote local products in at least one sector to complement the government’s efforts at addressing unemployment.
This will also help the MMDAs to carry out one of their key mandates of promoting economic development at the local level.
The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, who gave the advice, said to achieve this mandate, MMDAS needed to ensure effective collaboration with key stakeholders at the local level to champion development and prosperity for all without necessarily relying on the central government in making local economies resilient.
“Promoting economic growth and job creation is not only the responsibility of the central government but also the 261 local governments in the country.
“The ministry wishes to encourage the MMDAs to work together with local entrepreneurs, businesses, investors, and community organisations to form district partnerships to promote local products either in agriculture, industry, arts and craft, tourism and so on,” he said.
Mr Botwe was speaking at a local economic development investment fair, organised by the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in Accra last Wednesday (Sept. 20), under the auspices of the sector ministry.
The fair was a follow-up to a nationwide training by the Centre for Local Economic Development at ILGS for local government officers on a programme dubbed ‘Next Generation Local Economic Development (LED)’ which provided an opportunity for MMDAs to develop the products for sales and exhibition.
The fair, held on the theme, “Building vibrant local economies through Local LED products”, saw 18 MMDAs selected across the country, exhibiting and selling their local products such as pineapple juice, organic fertiliser, vegetables and poultry feed, among others.
The participants pitched their products to development partners, social and commercial investors, banks, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.
The Local Government Minister said as part of its strategy to help local governments promote economic growth and job creation, the government was implementing programmes such as the Ghana Secondary Cities, Integrated Rural Development project and the Ghana Productive Safety Nets projects, among others.
These projects, he indicated, had components aimed at promoting the livelihoods of the people in the communities.
Additionally, Mr Botwe said the government was providing technical and infrastructural support to the ILGS to provide both academic and professional training to staff and members of local governments and in the area of research.
He, thus, urged the MMDAs to leverage e-commerce and online platforms, as well as the African Continental Free Trade Area, to market their local products in the sub-region to improve revenues.
The Director of ILGS, Professor Nicholas Awortwi, explained that the next-generation LED was a strategy to help local governments support economic activities at the local level.
“The approach is based on the principles that it is the business of local governments to do business, to create jobs and improve the income levels of the people,” he said.