The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)’s implementation of a Social and Financial Accountability Plan to promote citizens’ engagement has bolstered its revenue mobilisation drive and this year it intends to rake in GHC42 million.

Mrs Lydia Sackey, the Director of Budget and Rating at AMA, told the Ghana News Agency following a forum, organised by the People’s Dialogue, a non-governmental organisation, that the Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) programme, had helped to bring citizens closer to the Assembly and minimised the misconceptions about its operations.

“For instance, since we partnered with them [People’s Dialogue – SPEFA] our revenue has tripled, and this year we’re expecting to raise GHC42 million,” she explained.

SPEFA, executed by People’s Dialogue, aims to improve citizens’ perceptions of urban management and increase their engagement with the Assemblies to enhance local development.

“This programme has prepared more citizens to question what the Assembly does, it also serves as a check between the Assembly and communities and the people now understand better the work we do,” Mrs Sackey said.

“It prevents nepotism and suspicion because it brings staff and the people together, they now understand our budgeting system, it brings out their felt needs because we cannot think for them; and once they get to understand our operations they are ready to honour their obligations.

Mr Elvis Alipui, the Chairman of Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, urged the AMA to eliminate physical and environmental impediments that limited their abilities to contribute to the national development agenda.

“If you look at our markets, the roads, pavements and our participation in national discourse, we’re are handicapped to do our best for the nation, there should be improvement in these areas,” he said.

Mr Kojo Anane, a Programme Officer of People’s Dialogue said: “Poverty can hardly be reduced in Ghana, particularly, in the short-run, unless deliberate efforts are made to strengthen social accountability at all levels of development.”

However, he noted that the challenge facing citizens’ active participation in local governance and the development processes was due to apathy, conflict of interest, and low level of patriotism.

Mrs Sarah Naa Deda Agbey, the Project Manager of SPEFA, of The Netherlands Development Organisation, lauded the Assembly and the citizens’ collaborative efforts in a quest to develop the metropolis to improve living conditions.

The SPEFA project is the component of the Local Government Capacity Support Project with the involvement of the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Finance and Economic Planning as well as, the Local Government Service Secretariat.

People’s Dialogue, a community-based NGO, established in 2003, is part of the implementation agencies executing the project in selected metropolitan and municipal assemblies countrywide.

GNA

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